Swipe Fees Could Cost Over $750 Million This Mother’s Day

Consumers are expected to spend $33.5 billion for the holiday.

May 06, 2024

“Credit card companies are swiping two flowers out of Mom’s bouquet this Mother’s Day,” Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) Executive Committee member and NACS Senior Vice President of Government Relations Lyle Beckwith said in a press release. “Families are trying to give mothers a special day, but the credit card industry sees Mother’s Day as just another chance to dig into consumers’ pockets with hidden fees. It’s time for Congress to stand up for moms by passing the Credit Card Competition Act.”

The National Retail Federation’s annual survey found that consumers celebrating the May 12 holiday plan to spend an average $254 per person for a total of $33.5 billion, the second-highest amount in the history of the survey.

According to the NRF, 84% of U.S. adults are expected to celebrate the holiday. On average, those celebrating plan to spend $254.04 on Mother’s Day gifts and celebrations, the second-highest figure in history and slightly less than last year’s record $274.02 per person. 

Based on those numbers and the 2.26% average swipe fee for Visa and Mastercard credit cards, the MPC estimates that $5.74 per shopper will go to banks and card networks rather than the merchant when customers pay by credit card. That’s the equivalent of two roses out of a typical $60 Mother’s Day bouquet with vase.

If all purchases were made with credit cards, swipe fees would account for $757.1 million of the Mother’s Day total. The actual amount is difficult to calculate because purchases are split between credit cards and debit cards, which have a lower swipe fee, and some are made with cash. Cash accounted for 19% of purchases in 2022, according to the Federal Reserve.

The impact of swipe fees comes as sponsors of the Credit Card Competition Act are waiting for a vote in the Senate.

NACS members are encouraged to reach out to their members of Congress and ask that they support the Credit Card Competition Act. NACS makes it easy for retailers and suppliers to send a message to their legislators via the NACS Grassroot Portal.