A decision by Visa to reduce its fees on business debit card transactions through the Irish banks will be of benefit to farmers and Irish co-operative livestock marts, when it takes effect from 1st September onwards, the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) has stated.

Over the past year, ICOS has held extensive meetings with the Irish banks around what it says were ‘prohibitive’ charges for farmers using business debit cards to buy cattle at marts nationwide.

Whereas previously Visa business transactions in marts attracted a fee of 0.30% (negotiated as a group rate for the marts by ICOS), this is now being reduced to 0.20% until 1st September.

After that date, ICOS has learned that the Visa debit card fee will be capped at €1 per transaction for secure payments (e.g., payment using chip and pin, online security verification or by phone using the 3 digit security number, among other methods).

It will be capped at €2 per transaction for non-secure payments.

As an example, a farmer buying €10,000 worth of stock would mean the mart paying a transaction fee of €30, where this will now be capped at €1 for secure payments.

ICOS National Marts Executive Ray Doyle said, “We’re very pleased with the proactive approach taken by Visa and the Irish banks where they listened to our concerns and have taken this into account in setting the new rates which will be of benefit to marts, farmers and all Visa business customers.”

“Anything that can reduce costs for farmers is welcome at what is an overall difficult time for agriculture in general.”

“This will also help marts to reduce their volume cheque payments which carry a business processing fee of €1.20 per cheque cashed running into costs of thousands of euro for marts nationwide.”