August 31, 2007
Americans for Consumer Education and Competition describes itself as “a consumer education group that has the financial support of Visa USA[®].” That said, the credibility factor of their recent statement raises more questions. ACEC’s PRNewsire release attacks the world-class Target Corporation, but fails to mention that this advocacy group is partly the voice of Visa, even though they are now seeking contributions, which signals their recognition that they need to be an independent voice, separate from the member bank’s Visa USA. If Target Corp. wasn’t forced to accept Visa cards, this attack, as reported by Milwaukee’s NBC-TV affiliate TMJ-4, should have caused the giant retail chain to consider dropping Visa, but the card association’s market power and unbridled controls force Target to maintain its dependence on the leading card association.
We have several previous posts over the past more than two-years regarding ACEC.
August 30, 2007
Although it will be a small milage change in commuting to his new job, also in San Francisco, according to AP, Byron Pollitt, Gap Inc.’s chief financial officer is transitioning to a new job as Visa Inc’s® CFO.
This is big new and something that boasts encouragement that the world’s largest credit card association is preparing to shift its strategy and better embrace and work with its merchant customers. Pollitt, as with all retailing and other executives should best understand the unfair merchant interchange fees and how the fees should be cost-based while enbracing comptition.
In his new role as CFO at Visa Inc., which is a defendant in our interchange litigation, Pollitt’s financial knowledge from our prospective as a retailer will be helpful in forcing Visa to shift direction. Hopefully, he will also help us demand that their antitrust price-fixing acquisitions be addressed and quickly resolved.
August 30, 2007
ScanMyPhotos.com in partnership with the US Postal Service.
August 30, 2007
We came across this news item about price gouging at the gas pumps at one service station in Orlando, Florida. The comments by its station owner speak volumes about how Visa and MasterCard have successfully turned their electronic payment operation into a giant pinball game, where there are so many varied prices for the same thing. The difference, in this case is that motorists can easily put their car in drive and choose another gas station, but merchants like us are forced to accept whatever prices the card associations and its member banks dream up.
August 27, 2007
We received a call today from a news reporter from a national publication and was explaining the previously discussed $50.00 interchange fee cap at the pumps that MasterCard® had proposed some time ago. The reporter asked us why the level of $50.00 was limited just to service stations and not to all merchants? Good question, especially because by advocating the fee limit, the card association is, in our opinion, effectively explaining that even with credit card transactions, there is no reason to extend the interchange fee beyond that rate.
According to a P-I News Service article, this time last year, MasterCard’s logic about limiting interchange fees at service stations must be applied to all merchants. Whether it is Tiffany & Co, Cartier, or the local corner grocery store, the interchange fee should be limited to $50.00; we suggest it should be cost-based, and therefore closer to zero – just as it is in Canada when consumers use their PIN-based debit cards.
The article explained that “MasterCard Worldwide said … that it will establish a cap on the fees gas stations pay to clear consumer credit cards … ‘We have heard the merchant concerns loud and clear,’ Joshua Peirez, group executive of MasterCard’s global public policy, said in the statement. [On the retail gas cap], Peirez said it would apply to consumer credit and debit cards and will provide benefits to gasoline retailers on credit card transactions of about $50.00 or more … MasterCard added that the ‘unique structure’ of the petroleum distribution business means that gasoline retailers have been ‘disproportionately affected’ by rapidly rising oil prices.”
Click here to read the entire unedited article.
Another profile on this issue was covered by Digital Transactions: “MasterCard Will Post Interchange Rates, Cap Fees for Gas Retailers.”
Notice that only MasterCard had come up with the $50.00 cap at the pumps, and we are unsure why Visa® has been silent on this matter? Perhaps because merchants will do the math and demand that all transactions for Visa too – from watches to a bag of groceries – should also have the same $50.00 limitation – until we win the antitrust, price-fixing battle.