Update: ScanMyPhotos.com Earns Raves for Battle against Visa and Mastercard

January 30, 2008

Due to our participation at the International Photo Marketing Association convention in Las Vegas, we are preoccupied with several speeches we are presenting at the DIMA and PMA conventions (www.Pmai.org)

However, it was rewarding to receive absolute encouragement in our battle from other retailers who saluted and applauded our campaign to take on Visa and MasterCard’s anti-competitive pricing structure. Even at a luncheon today, sitting next to a photo industry executive from England, who we met during our speech there last September, they too shared our fight, even though the rates they pay are just half that in the U.S.

PMA this year is all about technology and innovations to lower prices, which shines more light on the question of how the banks and Visa and MasterCard could continue charging such high fees even tough technology should have led to lower rates?

For updates during the weekend, see ScanMyPhotos.com blog – Tales from the World of Photo Scanning.

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“EU’s McCreevy Pushes for New Payment Card Schemes” (via Reuters)

January 28, 2008

Click here to read entire (Jan 28) article by Reuter’s Huw Jones.

  

 Want to know more about lead plaintiff ScanMyPhotos.com?  Click here and read their daily blog: Tales from the World of Photo Scanning


Kodak Earns Raves for Innovations And Extraordinary Transformation

January 28, 2008

Unlike Visa and MasterCard, the Eastman Kodak Company just earned raves from us due to its commitment to lower fees, raise efficiencies and create an entirely new business model to prove they are the world’s leaders in photo imaging.  More information will be announced as early as this week in Las Vegas during the International Photo Marketing Association convention.  Mitch Goldstone, from 30 Minute Photos Etc. and ScanMyPhotos.com [lead plaintiff in the merchant interchange litigation and co-editor of WayTooHigh.com] will again be addressing two sessions at PMA and DIMA

If Kodak can reform its entire business model and cause us to loudly applaud, imagine if other businesses were to mirror their lead and also put their customers first?

See Tales from the World of Photo Scanning link for complete profile.


Note to Visa and MasterCard, Not All Costs Keep Rising; Technology Helps Lower Ours

January 28, 2008

It helps when you are not part of a giant cartel.

ScanMyPhotos.com [30 Minute Photos Etc.] is doing the inverse and not replicating Visa and MasterCard’s business model. We use technology and innovations to constantly help provide more value to our customers around the world (rather than to member banks around the world) and we lower prices.  Our pricing is so low that we receive calls every day asking how we can charge so much less then anyone else.  It helps that we were the entrepreneurs who pioneered this new technology and helped commercialize Kodak document imaging scanners for photo industry applications and, just like the speed of transacting an electronic credit card payment , we too are super fast – 1,000 pictures digitally scanned in 10-minutes.  See Kodak.com profile.

For regular updates on ScanMyPhotos.com and our daily tip and updates on super-fast photo scanning and digital imaging, read our other blog, Tales from the World of Photo Scanning, click here.  On our most recent update, we even have very favorable comments on another large, non-financial services  company.  

It is interesting that since our litigation, the rate of record interchange fee hikes seem to have somewhat mellowed.  While that is a good start, why exactly were they consistantly rising prior to our litigation and how was that justified as technology and efficiencies should have helped lower fees?

  

 Want to know more about lead plaintiff ScanMyPhotos.com?  Click here and read their daily blog: Tales from the World of Photo Scanning


Interchange Fees Should Have Gone the Way of the IBM Selectric Typewriters

January 27, 2008

[originally posted Oct 18, 2007]

Unlike the fee structure of interchange rates, it is transparent that the named defendants along with their legal and advocacy teams are regularly reading WayTooHigh.com, yet, they remain nearly silent on many issues.

So, let us step back and remember the history of technology. Whatever happened to the millions of manual typewriters? How about the IBM Selectric typewriters – which were the staple for most offices just decades ago? The same question can be directed towards the manual credit card imprinters and multi-paged carbon copy paper payment receipts?  Our company, ScanMyPhotos.com, still has a manual imprinter that we use to demonstrate how unfair these fees are.  See this article with photo.

Both typewriters and manual credit card imprinters are nearly obsolete.

Today, you can buy a keypad for your computer for a couple of dollars on EBay, but only the Smithsonian in Washington is interested in those antiquated manual credit card imprinters. They all served a purpose, back when interchange fees were cost-based, but, one part is still around. The merchant payment system is still with us, and now amounts to a nearly $40 billion annual hidden tax that few retailers or consumers even understand.

Today, as the banks continue reporting dismal profits, due to the housing sub prime mortgage fiasco and other egregious mismanagement, the interchange boondoggle continues to fill an otherwise failing levee of corporate wretchedness. If it was not for the political and massive financial might of the banking industry (its member banks jointly owned Visa® and MasterCard®), these fees would have nearly disappeared.

Just as how the health care industry got a kick in the head after Michael Moore’s film “Sicko,” perhaps that is what Visa and MasterCard needs too.

Today, due to extraordinary political and economic schemes and collusion, the interchange rates in the U.S. are more than double, and often even more than that of collections in other, economically and technologically less developed nations.

Today, their market power is desperately grasping to hold on to these fees, especially when their other sources of revenues are being threatened.

Today, just as the Selectric typewriter and other ancient-like products abdicated to new technologies and innovations, we still have confidence that businesses and consumers will soon wake up and recognize that the banks’ electronic payment system are also relics; built on what we assert are illegal, price-fixing schemes to fill their vaults with billions of dollars that are being misdirected due to their absolute market power and price-fixing by agreement.

Whether it is forcing credit card paying motorists to toss over upwards of nearly two-percent of the total cost of a fill-up, to demanding that an inner-city mom, shopping at her local convenience store for a gallon of milk is helping to subsidize the premium affinity cardholders’ free mileage trip to the tropics, this must come to an end.

During the previous nearly [940] postings by WayTooHigh.com over the past nearly three years, we have provided news, commentary and updates on what we assert is an extraordinary conspiracy by the Visa and MasterCard associations to wield their market power to fix the price of credit card interchange fees.

Visa is wrong.MasterCard is wrong.

And, their member banks are wrong.

To quote from the movie “Network,” the payments network has enraged merchants, who, like us are mad a hell and are not going to take it any more

  

 Want to know more about lead plaintiff ScanMyPhotos.com?  Click here and read their daily blog: Tales from the World of Photo Scanning


If You Thought Just Interchange Fees Were Hidden, Read This…

January 27, 2008

We came across this threadon FlyerTalk’s online bulletin board forum about service charges at restaurants. Readers commented on how some restaurants add a service charge which patrons might not notice, and then double the tip. 

When compared to the nearly $40 billion in interchange fees that Visa and MasterCard’s member banks are still able to charge, this situation is tempered, but helps draw attention to a variety of hidden fee tricks.  In the case of restaurant guests, when the bill comes they can carefully review and choose whether to leave an added tip, but for all electronic payment transactions, merchants and cardholders are invisible in the process and are forced to pay what few understand.  From prior postings, we asked why Visa and MasterCard have not implemented out simplified receipt solution, by printing the exact interchange fee on every receipt? Click here for more info.

Click here to read the entire FlyerTalk forum thread


“How Credit Card Fees Inflate Prices of Goods” (Business Daily, in Nairobi)

January 27, 2008

A very worthwhile and detailed credit card interchange fee profile was written on Jan 28 by Wanjiru Waithaka for Business Daily, published in Nairobi.

The reporter raised questions that have been ringing non-stop by us for years.  Interchange fees should be lower in industrialized nations.  For a more global analysis, the reporter should look beyond their northern neighbors and research interchange fees in other nations too.

If they think interchange fees should be lower in Europe due to technology and infrastructure, what about in the U.S.?  Rates in the United States are, in some cases, more than double the fees charged by many EU nations.

Click here to view entire article.

The article’s highlights included these quotes:

  • “[i]n Europe, telecommunications is efficient so they have low transactions costs and can argue that card fees are high compared to the costs.”
  • “Frequent telecommunications failure also restricts banks from aggressively pushing retailers to accept card payments….  The market would grind to a halt because the existing infrastructure cannot support bulk usage of cards [in Africa].”
  • “Although they provide a solid revenue stream for the card issuers, interchange fees are an irritant to merchants and can be among the largest and fastest-growing costs of doing business for many retailers.”
  •  “The credit card interchange system therefore serves as a hidden tax, both on merchants and consumers, and raises the costs of all products regardless of the form of payment.”
  • “In Kenya,  95 per cent of card business is controlled by Visa and merchants pay a fee to acquirers on each card transaction called merchant commission. “We pay a commission of three per cent and the price is set by the bank, we don’t negotiate the fee,” says Frank Kamau, general manager of Tuskys, a supermarket chain with 18 outlets.”
  • “The acquirers share out the merchant commission as follows: a standard 1 per cent interchange fee goes to the acquirer, 0.5 per cent franchise or facilitation fee goes to Visa or MasterCard and the acquirer keeps the balance.”