What is interchange?
Per MasterCard, it is a “fee paid between the merchant’s bank and the cardholder’s bank that serves to balance costs in the payments system”. Interchange is a component of the merchant discount fee, which merchants pay to accept payment cards. Depending on your price plan, you may or may not see the breakdown of interchange fees within your overall cost of accepting credit card. See our post on What is interchange?
Benefits for these costs paid are fraud protection and faster payment, among others.
All interchange fees are posted on the respective Visa and MasterCard web sites for public viewing. Although there may be interim fee updates, the Interchange Rate Books are release 2X per year- April and October.
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Visa USA Interchange Rates
UPDATED RATES coming mid-APRIL 2013. Links to Visa web site page where you can download the latest rates.
MasterCard interchange rates-
MasterCard October 2013 interchange rates and qualification criteria PDF download
MasterCard Interchange Rate Links to MasterCard interchange education center.
Discover Acquirer Interchange and Cash Reimbursement Rates. Discover does not publish their rates, but you can ask your credit card processor to help you get access to them.
They’re usually the same as MasterCard.
Pin-based Debit Rate Table Links to Wells Fargo PDF updated August 2013
Average Debit Card Interchange Fee by Payment Card Network Links to Federal Reserve
American Express does not participate in the interchange system. They have their own rates based largely on SIC code and in some cases, usually very large corporations, specially negotiated deals. American Express merchant fees are published.
Every merchant pays interchange, though the form that you pay it may vary. For some, the specific interchange is broken out on their statements. For others, interchange costs are buried within merchant discount.
Why are fees such as the Discover data usage fee, Nabu fee, and others not listed on the interchange rate sheet? There are theories about this, but we’ll refrain from comment and just state that interchange rates are card dependent, among other factors. The other fees are fixed but not card dependent.