MasterCard Worldwide says by Nov. 1 it will release to the public the interchange rates it applies to its card products. It also says it plans to implement a cap next year on interchange fees on fuel purchases at gas stations.
  MasterCard historically has disclosed its interchange rates solely to its member banks and merchant acquirers. The new disclosure plans are geared to merchants and will include qualifications for different categories, such as card-not-present, and rates by volume and merchant type, says Joshua Peirez, MasterCard group executive, global public policy.
  The information will be posted on the www.mastercardmerchant.com Web site.
  The cap on petroleum purchases at the pump will kick in at $50 and will affect MasterCard credit and signature-debit card purchases. An acquirer could save as much as 21% on a $60 purchase, assuming the interchange rate is 2% with a flat fee of 10 cents per transaction, says Peirez. About 30% of petroleum purchases made with a MasterCard are for $50 or higher, he says.
  Acquirers pay interchange to the issuer of the card used in a purchase. The acquirer typically passes the expense on to the merchant.
  MasterCard already sets a cap on PIN-debit Maestro purchases at the pump and at other retail locations, says Peirez. He says MasterCard is working with acquirers and merchants to make the necessary technology changes to implement the cap on signature-based transactions. The cap could take effect in April, a traditional time for the implementation of interchange-rate changes, notes Peirez.
  (c) 2006 Cards&Payments and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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