Visa and Mastercard are delaying fee increases that would have cut into stretched businesses’ margins during the pandemic

  • Visa and Mastercard are postponing planned changes to their fee structures because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The changes to their interchange fees would have increased fees to some businesses at a time of unprecedented financial uncertainty.
  • The new fees were due to come into effect in mid-April but have now been put on ice.

Visa and Mastercard are postponing planned changes to their fees that would have hiked rates on some businesses and payment processors in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

Business Insider has learned that the two payment firms have decided to put on hold changes to their interchange rates — the fees that they charge on card transactions by consumers, which are either passed on to merchants or absorbed by payment processors. The news of the delay was first reported by Digital Transactions News.

The changes were not uniform, and some industries (like education) would have enjoyed lower fees. But other businesses (including the e-commerce sector) would have been hit with higher fees at a time when the global economy is experiencing unprecedented chaos and huge swathes of layoffs in industries like retail and hospitality.

Both Visa’s and Mastercard’s changes were slated to go into effect on April 18, according to a source familiar with the matter.

In a statement, William Stickney, a Visa spokesperson, said: “Visa is committed to partnering with our clients during this difficult time. We are actively implementing and considering a number of ways we can proactively support our clients to ensure the stability, security, reliability and resiliency of the digital payments ecosystem.”

Will Tsang, Mastercard’s vice president of communications, said the credit giant was “pausing updates to some systems while delivering the same level of security and service they receive every day. This is one way we can help them focus on their core systems operations and resiliency efforts to meet the needs of consumers and business.”

American Express has also decided to postpone pricing changes it had planned for its payment-processing option for small businesses OptBlue.

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