Monday, October 30, 2006

MasterCard® Interchange Rate Schedules on Website (via PRNewswire)

[Commentary: - The Credit Card Interchange Report]

We wonder whether last week's press release helped speed up MasterCard's® decision to just one-week later begin posting the long awaited fees online?

MasterCard has issued a press release today announcing that their anticipated posting of U.S. merchants interchange fee schedules are now posted on its website. Click here to download the MasterCard interchange rates and criteria; it is 72 pages long.

Think how much time and effort would be saved if the exact fee was instead listed on every charge receipt?

If we are confused, and we are the lead plaintiff in the merchant antitrust litigation, imagine the local shop owner who downloads the rate schedules?

Take a look for yourself - try to identify what the exact interchange rates are. Can you? How do these U.S. merchant rates differ from other nations? What accounts for the difference and why are rates averaging 1.7% in the U.S. all the way to zero in other nations? [There are no interchange fees in Canada for PIN debit cards].

The merchant classifications are broken down by category, from cruise lines, airlines, car rental charges to restaurants and even as detailed as the fees for MasterCard PIN debit POS for convenience stores.

According to the MasterCard press release, Walt Macnee, president, Americas, MasterCard, said "... [The] merchant community has asked us for greater transparency, and we are pleased to accommodate their request... Just publishing rates alone could lead to confusion among merchants who may be seeing this information for the first time... We are confident that we are providing merchants with the information they need to understand the interchange rates and structure and determine which rates may apply to their transactions. We want to have an ongoing dialogue with merchants, acquirers and other interested parties about the format and content of our rate disclosure, as we plan to update this document regularly."

Also mentioned within their press release was a quote from Joshua Peirez, Group Executive, Global Public Policy for MasterCard, who said "MasterCard has been a leader in providing greater transparency in the payments industry..."

If MasterCard really wants to comply with the above comments, there is no more transparent, simply way to disclose interchange fees than to actually post the exact charge on every cardholders debit and credit card receipt. Click here for background.

[Source: via MasterCard press release and commentary]