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Mastercard Inc. and Visa Inc. faced some angry retailers when they announced that they were going to raise interchange fees for online transactions.

Given the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic many Americans are still struggling financially. Retailers lobbied hard for both credit card companies to delay the hikes in interchange fees, the charge that a retailer pays to the credit card company every time a shopper uses their credit card to pay for a product or service.

The issue became such a hot button topic that Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) got involved. They sent a letter last spring to the CEOs of Visa and Mastercard asking them to delay implementation of the fee increase. “We urge you to call off these planned fee increases,” they wrote in their March 2021 letter. “Our nation is still reeling from the ongoing pandemic.”

Delayed Implementation

The pressure seems to have had its desired effect — at least partially. Both Visa and Mastercard agreed to delay their fee increases until April 2022. 

In a March 2021 emailed statement, Visa wrote, “Visa is committed to maintaining stability in our payments system and will not make any future rate changes in the U.S. for another year while the economy recovers.” 

Likewise, Mastercard wrote in its statement, “Mindful that some merchants are still facing unprecedented circumstances, we are delaying our previously announced interchange adjustments.” 

Avoiding Fees

These delays, while beneficial to the public still facing economic struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are temporary. As of April 2022 Visa and Mastercard still plan to go ahead with their fee increases. Brick and mortar retailers seeking ways to avoid paying higher fees should be sure to offer and encourage cash payments for goods and services. Having an in-house ATM allows customers readily available cash to purchase their products while helping retailers avoid increased credit card fees.