Credit card companies Mastercard and Visa said they will not boost some interchange 'swipe fees' as planned next month, saying certain increases will be postponed a year, according to a Bloomberg report.
The companies faced intense criticism of the proposed increases over the past few weeks from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-IL, who referred to the companies as a "duopoly" at a congressional subcommittee meeting on antitrust issues last week.
- The fees that will not increase include those that consumers use when they pay merchants for goods purchased online, as well as some in-store fees, the Bloomberg report said.
Durbin and Rep. Peter Welch, D-VT, sent a letter to the companies this month urging them not to increase fees. The merchants' trade group Merchants Payments Coalition has also been pressing the credit card companies to hold off on a hike that would cause retailers and merchants to pass increases to consumers.
Mastercard said it's also delaying some fee increases that would have been directed at brick-and-mortar retailers, according to the Bloomberg report. Neither company immediately provided comment detailing which fee increases would be delayed. Visa had said previously that the contemplated increase would be the first major restructuring to its fees in about a decade.
"Mindful that some merchants are still facing unprecedented circumstances, and consistent with our earlier commitment to be thoughtful on the timing of implementation, we are delaying our previously announced interchange adjustments in the U.S. until April 2022," Mastercard said in a statement.
The credit card companies had planned to roll out the increases last year, but held off imposing them at that time in the face of pressure from retailers and merchants hard hit by the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Trade groups for the two sides had recently been gearing up for a battle over the increase.