Visa and Mastercard charging ‘excessive’ fees – do cards save money after all?

New reports show that card giants Mastercard and Visa have taken the opportunity during the Coronavirus pandemic to increase their card fees, as more and more retailers are encouraged to go cash-free. The British Retail Consortium has said the fees charged by payment firms have almost doubled in the last two years – and credit card bills are expected to rise by £40.
Calls have been made – as the hospitality particularly struggles during the pandemic – for these fees to be reduced in a bid to help this sector. Until then, cash may be an alternative option for retailers and consumers to use. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has not issued advice to avoid the use of bank notes, despite cashless methods of payment being enforced by many retailers. Cash, therefore, is a viable method to use in order to save money on rising card fees.
Shon Alam, founder of Bidwedge ( – a new travel money buy and sell service – has commented on why cash still has it’s place:

“Even before Coronavirus, the use of cash was on the downturn. Now, despite the fact that the WHO never directed against the use of cash, more and more retailers and consumers have been turning to card as the main vehicle of payment. Unfortunately, as trends and demand for card payments have grown, fees have increased.
The industry should embrace transparency more, rather than hiking up fees, or turn to cash instead. With bank notes, there are no hidden costs; what you pay is what you get. Despite the impact of COVID, there is still a place for cash and, as these reports show, it may even be the cheaper and better option.”