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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 12, December 2011, Posted On: 12/6/2011

USAT Ends MasterCard Debit Transactions

Emily Jed
vending, vending machine, cashless vending, USA Technologies Inc., Michael Lawlor, debit card fees, USAT ends MasterCard transactions, MasterCard debit cards, USAT debit card fees, unattended point of sale, unattended POS, Durbin rate

MALVERN, PA -- USA Technologies said it is no longer accepting MasterCard debit cards. Higher interchange fees resulting from the passage of the Durbin Amendment have made the cost of processing the cards prohibitive for small-ticket transactions.

The cashless payment provider, whose ePort readers are widely use in the vending industry, continues to accept Visa debit cards and all major credit cards -- including Mastercard -- at pre-Durbin Amendment rates.

"We and our customers would love to accept MasterCard debit but only at such time when the debit interchange fees are competitive with Visa debit," said USAT senior sales vice-president Mike Lawlor. He said MasterCard's debit card rates are approximately 250% higher for a typical $1.50 vending transaction.

On Oct. 1, Visa and MasterCard increased the debit card interchange fee cap to 22¢ per transaction, as precipitated by the Durbin Amendment. The move disproportionately impacts merchants who sell products or services for less than approximately $11 a transaction. USAT announced last month that it was able to maintain its pre-Durbin Amendment rates for small-ticket transactions.

Lawlor said the company remains in talks with MasterCard and is hopeful that it will secure competitive rates for MasterCard debit transactions. "The ball's squarely in their court and we truly hope they change their position," he commented. "If they become more competitive, we're more than happy to turn the debit cards back on. It's a loud message from the vending industry at large that their debit fees are just not acceptable."

Lawler added that USAT has seen very little impact on overall cashless sales since turning off MasterCard debit card acceptance. "Initially, it appears that consumers are using other cards," he said, pointing out that over 80% of all debit transactions are made with Visa debit cards.

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