Acquirer Pricing Strategies Post-Durbin

With the July 2010 passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the financial services sector has faced extensive changes in conducting business under an increasingly complex regulatory framework. The payments industry was included within the scope of the massive legislation, which gave the Federal Reserve regulatory power to cap payment network interchange rates for debit card transactions and to govern the rules that guide merchant, processor, and bank routing of debit card transactions.

While all parties in debit card transactions have or will soon feel the impact of the new regulations, Mercator Advisory Group’s new research report, ‘The Cost of Payment Acquiring Versus the Cost of Card Acceptance: Acquirer Pricing Strategies Post-Durbin’, centres on the payment acquirer and how Durbin rules fit in with, and might change, the traditional market paradigms governing the cost of payments.

“The mark-up methodology for acquirer interchange cost has experienced a period of significant revision more recently, though, with many more players in the market adopting – and many more merchants demanding – an ‘interchange plus’ structure that more clearly demonstrates the acquirer’s expense on each card transaction. A laudable development,” said David Fish, senior analyst at Mercator Advisory Group and author of the report. “It’s also important to note that ‘tiered’ is not necessarily synonymous with ‘opaque’ – acquirers have been known to go to market with a tiered pricing system for sake of simplicity but then disclose interchange qualifications on merchant activity statements and through online merchant reporting systems.”

Highlights of this report include:

  • The biggest issue facing the payments industry, and the effect of the Durbin Amendment on the division of value in the value chain.
  • The sides of card transaction where risk exists and is alleviated.
  • The competing preferences that may split acquiring industry market strategy.
  • The impact of Durbin on card payment acceptance costs to merchants.
  • The opportunity for acquirers to invest in technology and innovation, and the parties which stand to reap the benefits.


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