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MasterCard To Charge New Acquirer, Processor Fees

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MasterCard Worldwide will start charging a new acquirer licensing fee in July, the company confirmed on Feb. 23.

The new fee, along with a new third-party processor registration fee, was mentioned in a Barclays note to investors earlier on Feb. 23. MasterCard spokesperson Seth Eisen did not immediately confirm the processor-registration fee.

The move comes ahead of a new rule prohibiting network routing exclusivity on debit cards, as part of the Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank law. That rule, which requires more than one network's point-of-sale PIN-debit brand to appear on cards, is slated to go into effect April 1.

"What we did is took a look at the value access to MasterCard's network provides to acquirers as well as those who work with them … and reevaluated our acquirer fee constructs and then have made the decision to institute new or increased fees based on the value the network is providing," Eisen says.

He declined to discuss specifics on pricing of the new fees.

Eisen denies that the fee changes are a result of the new routing rule, saying "what we've done is take a look at the overall environment."

But the fee changes follow an announcement by Visa last year to promote routing over its network in response to the new debit rules. The network has said it will introduce a fixed acquirer network fee that merchants ultimately would pay and lower variable transaction fees. Visa has yet to release details of the new fee structure.

The new rule is creating a shake-up of sorts, with all of the major PIN-debit networks vying for placement on issuers’ cards. And even U.S. Bancorp’s MoneyPass surcharge-free ATM network has entered the fray, announcing plans to add point-of-sale acceptance.

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