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Visa Postpones U.S. Interchange and Fee Changes Until 2021

Interchange and fee changes are placed on hold to help the digital payments industry.

Due to the massive disruptions of businesses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Visa made the announcement that they will delay the increase in credit card “swipe fees” until the following year, in April 2021. However, it will continue to move forward with its efforts to lower the interchange fees for in-store transactions that take place in supermarkets in July. 

Visa announced in a statement:

“At Visa, we remain steadfast in our commitments to employees, clients and communities as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our world in unprecedented ways. We believe this is the right decision to ensure the long-term stability of the digital payments ecosystem.”

Back in March, both Visa and Mastercard were set to announce a new fee structure, however, that too was postponed until July, amid the COVID-19 situation.

American Express Co. as well as Discover Financial Services have also jumped onboard, postponing many of their pricing changes. 

Visa Postpones EMV Chip Liability

In addition, Visa’s deadline for U.S. convenience and fuel operators to update their fuel dispensers to take EMV chip as well as for contactless payments was moved to April 2021 as well.  American Express has also agreed to postpone the EMV fuel pump capability to April. Mastercard and Discover have yet to announce if they too will delay the requirement. This means that gas station owners will be responsible for all “counterfeit fraud losses” if pumps are unable to read the EMV chip.  

Although Visa is confident that implementing EMV chip technology is critical to reducing fraud, they also understand how the global pandemic has caused serious disruption in the supply chain and also challenges with staff.

Convenience stores, gasoline owners, and merchant groups have been voicing their concern appealing to Visa to hold off on the liability shift that was originally going to take place in October. The economic downturn has only added more problems and complications in all the efforts to shift to this new capacity. 

More Fees Waived

Visa has also agreed to waiving any COVID-19-related dispute fees. Disputed transactions have skyrocketed due to cancelled flights, hotel stays, and events. Visa hopes to support their clients by foregoing these fees. 

The Merchant Advisory Group, which is an association of merchants that deal with payment issues, applauded Visa’s decision. MAG chief executive John Drechny expressed in a statement:

“This is positive news for the merchant community as it gives them needed relief from incremental expenses of accepting payments. We appreciate Visa hearing the concerns from the merchants and moving in a direction which provides relief. We will continue to work with Visa and the other networks to help them understand the continued pressure businesses face and develop solutions which will help alleviate this pressure.”

Visa Answering The Call For Help

Visa has announced its continued support to those directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier in April, the Visa Foundation made the announcement that it was committed to two programs. These two programs had a combined financial resource of $210 million in an effort to assist both small and “micro businesses”. These funds will also be made available to address any urgent needs within local communities in the aftermath of COVID-19.