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MasterCard interchange rates are established by MasterCard, and are generally paid by acquirers to card issuers on purchase transactions conducted on MasterCard® cards. Interchange rates are only one of many cost components included in a MDR, (Merchant Discount Rate) and are a necessary and efficient method by which MasterCard maintains a strong and vibrant payments network.
Accordingly, MasterCard is publishing interchange rates that apply to U.S.-merchants’ transactions, which include U.S. interchange rates (that is, the interchange rates that apply to transactions conducted on a U.S.-issued card at a U.S. merchant) and Interregional interchange rates (that is, the interchange rates that apply to transactions conducted on a non–U.S.-issued card at a U.S. merchant). MasterCard has included a Merchant Category Guide, as well as the key criteria associated with each interchange rate and a Glossary of Terms, to help merchants determine which of the many interchange rates may apply to their transactions.
The interchange rate tables are organized by product type. Each interchange rate has a series of requirements, all of which must be satisfied in order for a transaction to qualify for that rate. The requirements include such factors as: merchant category; the time between authorization and clearing; the presence or absence of magnetic stripe data; the submission of enhanced transaction data; and a merchant’s MasterCard sales and transaction volume. MasterCard systems ensure that all requirements are met when a transaction is submitted for a particular interchange rate. Merchants and acquirers should strive to meet all of the criteria necessary to qualify transactions for the rate(s) that are most advantageous to them.
MasterCard interchange rates are typically updated semiannually, and MasterCard will publish its interchange rates generally concurrent with each rate update.