Setting the record straight: Clarifying recent headlines

September 5, 2023

Last Wednesday, several media outlets covered a story from the Wall Street Journal about “credit card fees.” Unfortunately, the story is wrong.

The reporting relies upon a report produced by an advisory firm advocating for legislation currently under consideration in Congress. We want to ensure the correct facts are associated with Mastercard and are understood. They are simple and clear:

  • Mastercard is not raising interchange rates in the U.S. this fall and has no plans to do so.
  • Mastercard is not raising network fees in the U.S. required for the processing of Mastercard transactions this fall.
  • The Authorization Optimizer service is the only Mastercard fee noted in the study cited by the Journal. It is not related to interchange. This service is designed to reduce the likelihood that subscription and recurring payments will be declined, with any related fees being de minimis in scope.
  • The article notes that Congress is considering legislation that could potentially lower costs for merchants, yet it fails to mention the negative consequences for consumers – compromised security, a loss of rewards programs and higher prices on goods and services. For example, after similar legislation pertaining to debit transactions was passed in 2010, the Federal Reserve of Richmond concluded that consumer prices increased.

Whether businesses are considering implementing a specific service or Congress is considering legislation, we believe these activities should only take place based on an accurate understanding of the facts and how our industry works.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.