What Is “Interchange” [video: Electronic Payments Coalition]

September 20, 2009

You just have to watch this how-to video. The key facts about illegal antitrust price-fixing are omitted, as are the reasons why merchant interchange fees in the U.S. are upwards of six-times what other industrialized nations pay. Remember, this video and the organization promoting it is funded by the banks and Visa and MasterCard. 

The problem is that few understand what these fees are; it is a hidden tax on consumers – amounting to upwards of $48 billion in anticompetitive charges each year. As proof, since this video was posted, only about 450 people viewed it, which my guess was largely from those who produced it.


UnfairCreditCardFees.com

November 30, 2008

Fight Unfair Credit Card Fees

The credit card interchange fee is the biggest credit card fee you’ve never heard of.  Nearly $2 of every $100 American consumers spend using credit cards go directly to the credit card industry through the interchange fee.

In 2007 alone, America consumers paid over $42 billion in credit card interchange fees.  Even consumers who don’t use plastic pay more through higher prices.

And the credit card interchange fee is set in secret – consumers don’t know they’re paying it through higher retail prices.  Interchange fees have risen a staggering 133% since 2001.

A rare bi-partisan consensus has emerged:  HR 5546/S 3086, The Credit Card Fair Fee Act which stops the price-fixing by the credit card industry and uses a transparent market-based process.

New On UnfairCreditCardFees.com

[source: UnfairCreditCardFees.com]


“Costs Are ‘Killing’ Gas-station Owners” (via Herald Ledger)

April 7, 2008

Click here to read the article reported by Jennifer Hewlett in the Herald Ledger on April 7.

Excerpt:

Credit card interchange fees are “killing” convenience stores that sell gasoline, says Roth Bullock, who owns 16 such stores in Kentucky and Indiana.  Since 2000, 12 to 14 large companies operating convenience stores in Kentucky have gone bankrupt, and credit card fees are a big part of the reason, he said.

For every dollar spent on gasoline using a credit card, about 2 cents goes to the credit card company. Credit card interchange fees have risen dramatically in the past several years, and more and more people are using credit cards, as well as debit cards, which also carry fees, to pay for gas.

“It’s the second-largest expense we have besides payroll. It is double what utilities are,” said Bullock, owner of Bullock Oil Co., which operates Cowboy’s Food Stores in Kentucky and Indiana.

“Richard Maxedon, executive director of the Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association, said that many small gasoline retailers in Kentucky are selling out to larger operators because they can’t afford to stay in business any longer, in part because of card fees.


No April Fool’s Day Joke: Visa and MasterCard are Set to “Adjust” Interchange Rates on Tuesday (April 1st)

March 31, 2008

Visa and MasterCard Interchange Rates Revised on April 1


“BRC Anticipates Victory As Visa Card Iinvestigation Launched” (via The Retail Bulletin)

March 26, 2008

Click here for more info on the British Retail Consortium’s comments regarding the newest Visa interchange fee investigation


“Retailers: Card Fees Too High” (via Times Union)

March 22, 2008

Click here to read the March 22 article by Alan Wechsler in the Times Union.  

[Of note is that the bank’s along with Visa and MasterCard’s proxy, Trish Wexler at their Electronic Payments Coalition advocacy group  explained in the article that “Credit card companies say government has no right to get involved.”  This probably was the same argument the robber barons voiced in the 1800s when the railroad owners forced farmers to pay whatever they demanded to transport their goods to market. Interchange fees are just as antiquated and were designed a generation ago to process four-party payments over the Visa and MasterCard network, back when we merchants used manual credit card imprinters and carbon copy receipts.  As for Ms. Wexler, this is why we have the Sherman Antitrust Act, because Washington listened.  The goal of WayTooHigh.com – The Credit Card Interchange Report is to derail the banks’ arrogance.] 

Excerpt:

  • “There’s growing retailer resentment over the fees Visa and MasterCard charge for using their cards. More than 40 years after the cards were first introduced, nine states, including New York, along with the federal government, are pushing for laws to control the power credit card companies have over businesses.”
  • “It’s really out of control,” said Mallory Duncan, senior vice president and general counsel at the National Retail Federation, a trade group in Washington, D.C. “The rates keep going up, the terms are horrendous and it’s a cost that retailers and their customers have to bear.”

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