Merchants Rally Against Visa and MasterCard Fees

July 7, 2008

See below for a sample of signs that consumers, retailers and service station operators displayed during The Great American Rally Against Visa and MasterCard’s Fees on Gasoline.

For an update on how Visa and MasterCard are forcing service station operators to lose their life investment and close their doors, click here to read the Wall Street Journal, July 7th article, “Gas Stations Hit Skids: Higher Costs Close Nearly 3,000 in a Year” (subscription required). 

Excerpt: “Aziz Hassan, who owns five stations in Sherman, knows all about the profit squeeze. A truckload of gasoline costs $35,000, compared with $10,000 just a few years ago, he said. Most of his profits are going to credit-card fees, he said, which eat up about nine cents of every gallon of gasoline his customers buy with a credit card. This leaves him little to cover costs such as electricity to run the pumps.”




“Rally protests gas prices, credit card fees” (via OC Metro)

July 4, 2008

Via OC Metro Magazine

Irvine business owner organizes rally to call attention to the fees credit card companies are raking in with rising gas prices.

By Olga BelogolovaPublished: July 03, 2008 04:10 PM

More than 30 people gathered at the corner of Jamboree and Barranca Avenues this morning to protest high gas prices and high credit card fees. The protest, organized by small-business owner Mitch Goldstone, took place during the morning commute.

On the cusp of Independence Day weekend, protesters gathered wearing American flags and patriotic gear.

One of them, Mary Lou Barry of Tustin, dressed in a full American-flag jacket and glistening blue hat, spoke about the gas problem. “People are just accepting it,” she says. “We have to talk about it and maybe get some attention.”

The high gas prices are not only affecting drivers, explained Mitch Goldstone, but independent business owners as well, whom, he says, “are going out of business because of Visa and MasterCard.”

Navdeep Bassi, a 7-Eleven franchise owner, is feeling the weight of these fees. “Credit card fees are killing us,” he says. “We make no profit.”

Also personally affected by the gas prices, Lauren Young came to the protest with her daughter Samaia.

Having no car, Young explains: “It’s hard to get rides because a lot of people don’t want to do it. It makes a lot harder,” Young says, “doctors appointments and everything.”

Overall, organizer Mitch Goldstone was very pleased with the turnout. “Everyone is so passionate about record gas prices,” he explained, “especially right before our holiday weekend.”

Goldstone is the president of and 30 Minute Photos, Etc., which are located near the protest location as well as a nearby Chevron station.

For more information about gas prices, credit card fees and Goldstone’s efforts, go to

[source: OC Metro Magazine]

How to Stop Credit Card Profiteering at the Pumps

June 18, 2008

With record-setting gas prices, service stations, motorists, consumers and the entire nation and world have become the latest pawns for Visa, MasterCard and its thousands of member banks to score billions, and few are noticing.

We came across this Tom Breen Associated Press article that helps explain why this is such a heated issue.  Finally, according to MasterCard spokesperson, Sharon Gamsin, the second largest electronic payment company has indeed placed a merchant interchange fee cap of $50 for all fill-ups.  When was it implemented and why not just charge for the actual cost to transact the electronic payment?  Think of the goodwill that Visa and MasterCard’s new shareholders can share with pride, in knowing that their company is helping to lower and soften the impact of these unfair credit card fees.

USA Today’s Chris Woodyard wrote an article on limits at the pumps in this May 30th article.  The credit card company tricks persist.  Even with the MasterCard cap at the pumps, many are forced to now use multiple cards because the card associations and member banks are imposing $75 limited, which means that the interchange fees are much more, especially when debit cards are used and flat fees apply.

The MasterCard cap at the pumps was first mentioned in 2006, and I was unsure whether MasterCard actually implemented this program.  Now that they have (according to News) here are more questions:

Because of the collusive nature of the giant 80% market power that MasterCard and Visa wield, I was surprised that Visa did not follow along.  So, it is only MasterCard that has the cap at the pumps?  Why did Visa withhold from also limiting interchange fees at the pumps? 

Did you know that it can cost more than $1,200 to full up an eighteen-wheeler truck; that is about $25 in interchange fees for something that might cost pennies in real costs to transact over the monopolistic payment networks.  

If merchant interchange fees are equally limited to $50 for a Prius and a double-haul big rig, why are not all merchant interchange fees for every other transaction also limited too?  The answer is that when you operate a giant cartel – reaping nearly $50 billion dollars in hidden fees – you can do whatever you want… until now.

Credit card fees: Some gas stations say ‘no more’ [Tom Breen, AP]

  • When gas station manager Roger Randolph realized it was costing him money each time someone filled up with $4-a-gallon gas, he hung a sign on his pumps: “No more credit cards.” 

  • He may be the first in West Virginia to ban plastic, but gas station operators nationwide are reporting similar woes as higher prices translate into higher credit card fees the managers must pay, squeezing profits at the pump.

[source: [AP]

Visa, MasterCard and the Banks Windfall Profiteering at the Pumps

February 26, 2008



It’s a record price at the pumps, which again raises the question: why are the banks allowed to reap windfall profits during our nation’s economic energy crisis? 

As more motorists are forced to pay with plastic – due to the record costs to fill up their tanks, Visa, MasterCard and its thousands of member banks are earning windfall profits.  They demand a percent of each sale for each credit card transaction, even though the interchange fee cost is nearly zero (it is estimated that the actual fees to process electronic payments are about 13% of the total interchange fees collected).   

Related Links

FAST FACT: Record gas prices leads to possible profiteering and windfall for credit card companies

Banks Benefit When Oil Surges

Crude-oil Futures Hit $100 a Barrel on Nymex

More Oil Profiterring. A Barrel of Gas Now at $86

Oil Jumps to Nearly $100, Generates More Interchange Fee Profiteering

Oil Surges Past Record High, Above $78 a Barrel; Yields More Windfall Profiteering For Banks 

Interesting Question: Why Only Cap Interchange Fees At The Pumps?

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Interesting Question: Why Only Cap Interchange Fees At The Pumps?

November 15, 2007

[With gas prices now at record levels, we are reposting this August 27, 2007 commentary] 

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.