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MasterCard not planning broad fee changes despite Durbin Amendment

MasterCard announced this week that it will not implement any broad changes to fees charged to merchants and their banks to pay for processing card transactions.

"What was a positive surprise for the market is that MasterCard went out of [its] way to make a couple of things clear," Jason Kupferberg, a senior analyst with Jefferies & Co., said in an interview, according to AmericanBanker.com. "One is that they have no interest in starting a pricing war in the U.S. debit market."

The move flies in the face of a recent announcement by Visa that it will change its fees across the board.

"We're going to be very thoughtful and very surgical in how we approach the opportunities in PIN and signature debit as it unfolds under Durbin," Chris McWilton, the president of U.S. markets at MasterCard, said on an earnings conference call Wednesday, according to AmericanBanker.com.

As a result of the Durbin Amendment, Visa expects to lose as much as 80 percent of its PIN debit volume, while MasterCard stands to potentially gain market share.

"The battle lines over routing are still unfolding," McWilton said, AmericanBanker.com reports. "Being the smaller player in U.S. debit, MasterCard is…in a completely different competitive situation. Ours is one of potential upside, not the need to defend a large incumbent position. As a result, we will be looking at strategic, surgical opportunities with issuers, acquirers and merchants."

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