7-Eleven®Launches Unprecedented Million-Signature Petition Campaign to Stop Unfair Credit Card Transaction Fees

July 10, 2009

6,300 Stores Participating across USA

Dallas (July 8, 2009) – In communities across America, 7-Eleven store owners and operators are undertaking an unprecedented, million-signature petition campaign calling on Congress to reform unfair and excessive credit card transaction fees.

Some 6,300 7-Eleven® franchisees, licensees and store operators in the U.S. are working to change the way credit card companies’ do business with retailers across the country and are taking their beef to the street – or in this case to their counters and customers.

Interchange fees are hidden fees to the consumer and are set privately by credit card companies and charged to store owners every time that a customer uses a credit card. Transaction fees squeezed American businesses and their customers to the tune of $48 billion in 2008 alone. On average, an American store owner will actually pay nearly twice as much in transaction fees as they earn in profits, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores 2007 State of the Industry data.

“7-Eleven stores are operated by franchisees who represent more than 6,000 small businesses on Main Streets and in neighborhoods across America,” said Darren Rebelez, 7-Eleven, Inc. executive vice president and chief operating officer. “This petition drive is a grassroots effort to get a fair deal, spearheaded by small business owners in the communities where they live and with the customers they serve every day.

“Interchange fees are hurting individual small business operators, which represent more than 75 percent of 7-Eleven stores in the U.S.,” Rebelez said. “Because more and more customers are using credit cards for small purchases, there are small transactions where the operator actually loses money. The fundamental challenge is that in most business relationships, both parties have the ability to negotiate, and in this case we do not. ”

The petition drive takes place at all of 7-Eleven’s U.S. stores, and a copy of the petition will be prominently offered for signatures at every check-out counter. At the end of the petition drive, 7-Eleven expects to deliver one million signatures to Congress, calling on them to stop credit companies from charging unfair, hidden transaction fees and to pass legislation empowering retailers to negotiate with credit card companies.

“We’re not asking for a bailout, we simply want to negotiate in good faith with credit card companies in the same manner we negotiate with thousands of our other business partners,” Rebelez said.

American consumers pay among the highest transaction fees in the industrialized world. An average of $2 out of every $100 Americans spend goes to transaction fees, and for many businesses, transaction fees are now their highest non-labor cost, growing even faster than health care costs. As other countries have reined in excessive transaction fees in recent years, and the actual cost of processing credit card transactions has gone down, Americans are now paying triple the amount in transaction fees they paid in 2001, reaching $48 billion last year alone.

Rebelez added, “In the convenience industry, credit card companies come out the winner making more than twice the profits of the industry in total. To date, we have been unable to convince these companies to come to the table to negotiate fair fees. In order to survive and stay in business, our franchisees and licensees plan to make a significant, collective statement with this petition drive. With this unprecedented effort, Congress will hear the message of 7-Eleven’s small business owners and our customers across the country loud and clear,” he said.

The 7-Eleven petition drive will continue through Aug. 10. At the conclusion of the campaign, the top signature-gatherers from each of 7-Eleven’s seven U.S. geographical divisions will be flown to Washington to personally deliver the signatures to Congress.

About 7 Eleven, Inc.
7 Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses approximately 7,800 7-Eleven® stores in North sales of more than $53.7 billion. For 15 consecutive years 7-Eleven has been listed among Hispanic Magazine’s Hispanic Corporate Top 100 Companies that provide the most opportunities to Hispanics. 7-Eleven is franchising its stores in the U.S., and is expanding through organic growth, acquisitions, and its Business Conversion Program. Find out more online at www.7-Eleven.com.

[source: 7-Eleven press release]

“NACS’ CEO Details Progress in Interchange Fee Fight” (via NACS)

October 6, 2008

CHICAGO — Calling outrageous credit card fees the most important battle faced by the industry, NACS President and CEO Hank Armour said the industry continues to put pressure on the issue, “2009 looks to be the watershed year in which we may finally get significant relief,” he said during the Opening General Session at the NACS Show 2008 on Oct. 5, 2008.

“This is the biggest issue that our industry has faced in decades, and we’ve taken it head on,” said Armour. “With the tremendous help and support of many of you, we made a lot of progress this year.” The Credit Card Fair Fee Act was successfully passed out of the House Judiciary Committee (H.R. 5546), and the legislation was also introduced in the Senate (S. 3086), he noted.

“We obviously have the credit card companies’ attention,” said Armour, referencing what he described as public relations stunts that Visa and MasterCard attempted this summer to deflect attention away from the issue of interchange. “While Visa and MasterCard claim they have fixed the problem, they haven’t. The only thing they fix — and they continue to do so — is the price,” said Armour to applause.

[Source: NACS – CS News, click here to read more]



The $40 Billion Network Few Understand

January 14, 2008

Purchase NY, San Francisco CA and computers across the nation and overseas will be abuzz over this commentary.  Think of the television networks, lottery networks and any other giant system that operates a mechanism for connecting people together. 

Competition and illegal price-fixing are nonexistent outside the world of credit card payment networks.  Most other networks are free of charge, yet the credit card networks, built decades ago to cover the cost of paper and mechanical transactions, remains in charge.  And, charge it does.  With reports that the actual cost for each electronic transaction is about 13% of the revenues generated, this is one antiquated system that few understand.  As more people read WayTooHigh.com – The Credit Card Interchange Report, more frustration will generate more questions on these unfair fees. 

  

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



“EU Seen Finding MasterCard Guilty Of Overcharges Wed-Sources” (via Dow Jones)

December 17, 2007

The European Commission is expected to tell MasterCard Inc. (MA) Wednesday that the fees it charges stores for international credit

Click here to read article.


Interchange Fees are Obsolete as VHS Video Tapes

November 27, 2007

During the holiday season, look around.  Can you find any VHS cassettes to record television programs on?  How about super-8mm movie film?  8-track tapes?  3 /12″ floppy discs?  Catching on?

Merchant interchange fees are one of the few holdouts from the pre technology explosion, from before TiVo, MySpace, Youtube and the iPhone.  The electronic payment network is today what computer storage devises were years ago.   With consumers increasingly relying on their computers to safe keep their valuable digital libraries, Western Digital’s My Book storage system provides users a safe place to secure up to one terabyte (1 TB) of digital content.  In the mid-1990’s that hardware would cost about a million dollars and fill an entire room, today it is under $500 and is the size of a few cell phones.   With “Moore’s Law”, technology is getting faster and prices cheaper.  Except, when you have unbridled market power and control a system that is obsolete.  It is like a drug addict who only knows how to stay in a daze. 

But, we are awaking Visa and MasterCard and reminding them that their once impenetrable interchange fee fiefdom is on the verge of distinction.  Other countries have got smart and demand rates be lowered, in some cases to a tiny fraction of those fees in the U.S., even though our nation is among the most technology advanced, our communications infrastructure should mean it costs less to transmit data, and third-world fraud rates have to be higher, yet they too pay a tiny fraction of our near record merchant interchange fee prices.  Technology today is so super-fast, just like our high speed ScanMyPhotos.com picture scanning – we cannot help but lower prices. 

Even though the banks are reporting huge problems from its mortgage mess, they would not be allowed to wield their anti-competitive power to artificially hold up what are now obsolete fees to help cover their other mistakes.  We understand that only about 13% of all interchange fees are used to actually cover the transactional costs. 

[Commentary: WayTooHigh.com]