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Who defines interchange?

Interchange is defined by the card associations: Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. Interchange is the "base rate" that all merchants pay for any given credit/debit card.

One of the biggest jobs that Visa/MasterCard/Discover have is to set/define the  interchange rates. As a reminder - interchange is the cost paid back to the cardholder's issuing bank for every transaction a merchant accepts. It's a rate that all merchants pay, and all issuing banks get the same interchange fees. Essentially, interchange is a "buy rate" for credit card sales.

Every year, the card associations update their interchange rates. Usually, the rate changes are very modest - the rates stay roughly untouched year over year, minus a few updates here and there. You can see the tables here (they're complicated!) 

Remember - Visa/MasterCard/Discover don't keep the interchange rates. That money goes back to the customer's bank, to cover the costs of issuance and risk mitigation. The card associations do make money, but it's much less. You can see their cut here

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