How Solana Pay Is Pressuring Visa and Mastercard

Visa and MasterCard are implementing fee increases for merchants at the same time that Solana (SOL -12.51%) Pay is offering instant transactions for a fraction of a penny. In this Motley Fool Live segment from “The Crypto Show,” recorded on April 20, contributor Travis Hoium take a closer look at this changing payment landscape and how credit card companies will begin feeling the pressure. 

Jon Quast: This kind of takes us to our next topic, I think, because some of these other protocols, they’re proving so easy, so consumer-friendly that maybe even the incumbent financial institutions are starting to sweat a little bit. 

Travis Hoium: Yeah, so this was — Visa and MasterCard are gonna be implementing some fee increases this month, if they haven’t already gone into effect. And you know, this just really popped up on my radar, and I think it’s an interesting contrast to something that we’ve been talking about for, I think, a couple of months now, which is SolanaPay — because that’s really the competition and the disruption that I think is coming from cryptocurrency. 

So Visa and MasterCard, this is what I’ve seen reported. If you’ve ever looked at the interchange fee charts, they’re just like a complete mess and they’re very opaque. And they often just kind of get hidden into the fees that Toast or Square charge merchants. But the way that I’ve seen it reported is a $100 transaction would go from $1.90 to $1.99 in interchange fees. So that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if you’re doing, if you’re a restaurant does about 2 million dollars in revenue — which would could be a kind of regular size restaurant — and your margins are, let’s say, 2%. So you’re making $40,000 a year. Suddenly, Visa and MasterCard are going to take another $1,800 of the profit coming out of the company. So if you’re a merchant — specifically merchants that have very low margins — this is a really, really big deal and may make you think about: Is there a lower-cost option out there? 

And that’s why I’m so interested to see what happens with SolanaPay. Because this is a transaction that not only doesn’t take multiple days — so when you use a credit card at a restaurant, that merchant or restauranteur doesn’t get that money for a few days, because it’s got to go through the banking system. SolanaPay, you get that money immediately. And also the fee isn’t two to three percent. It’s like a fraction, literally, a fraction of a penny. 

John if I can share something for my screen here real quick. Toast does a nice job breaking down exactly what the fees are that go into transactions. So this is the processing fee. This pink section right here is the Interchange and Network Fee, so that’s basically what would go to the credit cards. And then Toast takes a little cut here as well to do their operations. Similar with Square, or Block. And so the merchant only gets, you know, $97. Think about this going down 10 cents. So that’s what we’re talking about here is these fees going up. 

To me, they’re moving in the opposite direction. I talked, when we brought up SolanaPay, I literally said that I sold all of the credit card stocks that I owned, because of this reason. I think that there’s so much pressure for these companies to increase profits that it’s going to actually increase disruption and competition long term. So that’s what I worry about is that they’re moving in the wrong direction. So, something I think is notable given how profitable those companies are and the things that may be coming down the pipeline, whether it’s SolanaPay, whether it’s whatever Block is building with the TBD project. I think there’s something coming to payments that will be very low cost, that will be, you know, kind of seamless for us. We won’t really see it, but will be a very big deal for merchants.

This article originally appeared on