JPMorgan Chase Completes Ownership Transition of Chase Paymentech

November 10, 2008

As Chase and First Data Part Ways, Chase Eyes Alternative Payments

(November 3, 2008) Banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. and processor First Data Corp. said on Monday they have completed the previously announced split-up of their joint venture called Chase Paymentech Solutions, the world’s largest merchant acquirer. The bank-owned Chase Paymentech will focus on alternative payments and geographic expansion with its 51% share of the former joint venture’s assets, but it’s unclear what First Data will do with its 49% share.

Click here to read more.

[Source: Digital Transactions]

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New Visa and MasterCard Interchange Rates on Oct 3rd

September 12, 2008

Along with millions of other merchants, 30 Minute Photos Etc. [ScanMyPhotos.com] just received a two-page letter from Chase Paymentech today regarding a rate “modification” to both Visa and MasterCard’s interchange fees.

As with all prior letters over the years, this one was equally confusing.  As a lead plaintiff in the multi-billion dollar merchant interchange antitrust class action, you would think that I would have a clear understanding of these new terms.  

I have not a clue what the letter by David Carr, group executive of client services at Chase Paymentech Solutions, LLC said.  

A pfd file of the letter is posted on this link

While Visa and MasterCard suggest that this is part of their new campaign to be more transparent, the reality is that even with rates posted on their website, merchants are dizzy from the non-stop, anti competitive market power wielded by the two giant electronic payment associations and its thousands of member banks.


Visa and MasterCard Interchange Fee Increases Impact PIN-based Debit Cards

July 17, 2008

While Visa and MasterCard attempt to limit the outrage over their windfall profiteering at the pumps, the ineffective rate reductions on gasoline electronic payments, were just met with new rate increases for merchants. 

PIN-based debit card fees traditionally were fixed, rather than charging a percent of each transaction, as is the case with signature cards.  However, I was just informed by the electronic payment processing company, Chase Paymentech, which handles transactions for ScanMyPhotos.com and 30 Minute Photos Etc. that our rates have again changed.  Even though our nation is facing a dire recession and many businesses are forced to close, Visa and MasterCard continue with their unbridled greed at the expense of American retailers and consumers.

In response to our email to Chase Paymentech inquiring about a letter we received in May announcing that PIN pricing changes will take effect on June 1st it appeared that PIN debit transactions will no longer be a low, flat fee of 55-cents.  Now it will be a flat fee, plus a transaction fee as well.  Today, we received June 2008 statement and it appears that we are no longer paying just $0.55-cents for processing PIN based debit cards but we are now paying $0.20-cents PLUS a percent of the sale depending upon if it is an Interlink, Maestro, Pulse or Star Southeast.  The percent that is being passed through is GREATER than if we processed the transaction as a “Signature Based” transaction vs. a PIN based transaction.

See the below recent email exchanges from Chase Paymentech Solutions LLP, in their own words:

“…[S]ome of the debit network fees have changed and these changes will be passed onto you.  You have been getting the debit network fees passed onto you (part of interchange pass-thru), so this is not a change.”

“The letter that was sent out is notifying you that some of the debit network fees have changed and these changes will be passed onto you.  You have been getting the debit network fees passed onto you (part of interchange pass-thru), so this is not a change.”

“On top of the Pin-based debit network fees which are passed through, I believe the $0.55 would remain the same.”

This is part of the pin-debit network fees passed through, as described below.  Pin-based debit is not always the lowest cost option, since it depends on your transactions amount.  If you feel you would like to do signature based transactions, then you can process these transactions either way –pin-based or signature based.”


Visa and MasterCard’s Interchangee Fee “Adjustments”

April 3, 2008

[UPDATE, original post on April 1st]

Based on the letter sent to Chase Paymentech customers, we were advised that the announced Visa and MasterCard interchange fee “adjustments” would take place on April 1 and be posted on their website.  Well, it’s April 1st and Visa still has the old rates listed

[Editors note, (April 3) We just checked back today and noticed that Visa’s new fee schedule is now online, but try to figure out what each individual payment transaction charge is and why is Visa’s only five pages when the MasterCard schedule is more than one-hundred?]

At least MasterCard complied and has the new 103 page rate schedule posted, but click here to see if you can guess what the heck is going on.  

For us, the best part of MasterCard’s [April Fool’s Day] posting was this gem: “… MasterCard has no involvement in acquirer and merchant pricing policies or agreements.”  Good stuff, except when you understand that those that did were the thousands of banks, and with representation  on MasterCard’s board of directors which owned MasterCard, prior to the IPO and still maintains a nearly 50% investment.

MasterCard U.S. and Interregional Interchange Rate Programs


WayTooHigh.com: Influencing Opinions and Raising Awareness

March 25, 2008

Today marks the third year since ScanMyPhotos.com launched WayTooHigh.com – The Credit Card Interchange Report. It is also about the time we received that infamous rate increase letter from Chase Paymentech which was sent to millions of merchants just like us.

Some rates have risen more than 300% in the past few years. The most recent rate “adjustmentletter arrived days ago, but does not identify the new fees until after they take effect. That sympathetic letter from our payment processing service announced a rate increase when cardholders had us process their affinity, frequent-flier signature cards; a quality causing retailers to effectively also be taken on a ride. That was the letter which led to The Wall Street Journal front-page Marketplace profile on our parent company [30 Minute Photos Etc.] and the beginning of our Federal class-action complaint against Visa, MasterCard and international major banks.

Changes have occured over the years. Merchant interchange rates have continued to ascend, while our traditional photographic film business wallowed due to the same technological shifts which made digital more practical.  These are the efficiencies which also helped bring down many antiquated analog services.  Next to film, the yellow page directories, fax machines and thousands of other businesses, the changing times also drew attention to the $40 billion annual merchant interchange debacle which didn’t budge.

But, unlike other businesses that were forced to change, the two giant credit card associations and their 80% market power kept trudging along.  Today, film, phone books and other once shining business models are historic vestiges from an antiquated past.  However, the electronic payment network, which today is super-fast, efficient and liberated from the days of manual credit card imprinters and carbon-copy receipts (that had to be mailed away for processing) remains.When you study the free interchange processing for checks, and international interchange rates that are a third and less the cost in the U.S., you quickly understand that Visa and MasterCard’s game – managed by thousands of member banks – is blemished.  Their anti-competitive price-fixing is illegal and drawing international attention and loud shouts from Washington D.C.

While this website has been written in our voice, as a retailer who best understands the issues, we have also become the leading personality and fixture behind the interchange battle.  And, it continues to gaining traction.  Visa and MasterCard restructured their companies, but the issues and fees remain as do their potential liability.The mix of banks, public relations and legal firms which read our comments each day is shared with close scrutiny by Visa, MasterCard, and much more importantly by other business owners, governments and associations around the world.  From giant multi-national conglomerates to “mom-and-pop” shopkeepers, we have been reporting, sharing commentary and observations with the world community which is also causing grief to Visa and MasterCard.  WayTooHigh.com and the nearly fifty other class-actions suits after we filed the first are shining a knock-down message that time is running out on the cartel’s imposing might.

Many of you have been following the shift in our business too – from film to digital and our extraordinary international media coverage for the new super-fast photo scanning business model we pioneered. From multiple articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and scores of other media coverage, the entrepreneurial passions at ScanMyPhotos.com was successful in making the leap from analog to digital. So, why hasn’t Visa and MasterCard also transitioned from an ancient , cost-based interchange fee structure to one that represents today’s technological realities?

In the late 1980’s technology evolved where transactions were processed electronically and paper records were not needed for most payment card transactions.  Since that time, the costs of various components of credit card transaction processing (phone, data processing and Internet services have decreased significantly.  These changes led to significant reductions in the costs of processing payment card transactions.

As class-representatives, on behalf of the millions of merchants with shared dedicated to eradicating supra-competitive interchange fees, we will continue to engage and call attention to this multi-billion dollar injustice.

News Update From ScanMyPhotos.com


Visa and MasterCard Interchange Rates Revised on April 1

March 14, 2008

We just received a letter from Chase Paymentech dated March 4th (today is March 14), that on April 1st, both MasterCard and Visa will be adjusting their merchant interchange fees and certain rates may increase.  All we know now is certain merchant interchange rates will be “modified.”

This is the link that Chase Paymentech provided for Visa, but the new rates will not be posted until April 1, the day the new rates take effect.  

As for MasterCard, try figuring out what this means from the link provided by Chase Paymentech.