Visa and Mastercard are planning to raise swipe fees for some types of credit-card purchases in April, adding to the squeeze felt by restaurants, retailers, and other merchants already struggling through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Card-industry executives say interchange fees help cover costs for important functions such as innovation and preventing fraud. They point out that the chances of fraud are higher with online purchases, which is partly why online swipe fees are often higher. Fraudulent online card transactions, which can result in more costs for merchants, jumped last year, according to industry data. While total retail sales, excluding cars and gasoline, increased 0.3% from March 2020 through January from the same period a year earlier, online sales increased 57%, according to Mastercard’s SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all payment forms.