(WTTV/WXIN) — Financial experts are on the lookout for increased fees that could affect you every time you swipe a card.
There are conflicting reports about whether Mastercard and Visa plan to increase “interchange fees” (swipe fees) for businesses. Those are the fees businesses have to pay every time a customer swipes their card in their shop or place of business.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Visa and Mastercard plan to increase those fees starting in October. Retail payment advisor CMSPI reports the move could end up costing American companies up to $500 million more per year.
Of course, the conventional wisdom is that businesses are unlikely to simply eat the added cost. Instead, they will likely pass it on to consumers in the form of higher prices.
While Mastercard and Visa have each denied the journal’s report, it might be a good time to think about how to avoid paying those fees when you buy.
In general, swipe fees make up between 2 and 3 percent of every purchase on a credit card. If you put $50 of gas in your car, you’ll likely pay about $1 more because the gas station owner doesn’t want to pay it.
The most basic way to avoid paying the fee is to use cash. Dealing with cash may seem like a hassle to some. But if you generally know how much money you’re going to spend each week on things like gas, coffee and groceries, you can plan to start each week with enough cash to avoid a lot of repeated card swipes.
You can also explore alternative payment options like mobile wallets, and digital payment platforms. Any business app you can attach directly to your bank account would also avoid credit card fees.
Even if the swipe fees don’t go up this fall, these might be some ways to avoid the fees you’re already paying and save yourself some money each week.