Is Your Bank To Blame for Pain at the Pump?
A new report claims swipe fees card companies charge could be tacking on as much as 10 cents to consumers' gas bills
It's not just the increasing cost of crude oil that's pushing up prices at the pump. Card companies such as
How does paying with plastic impact gas prices? It's all in the "swipe fees" retailers have to pay credit card companies to process debit and credit transactions. As gas prices have climbed to meteoric highs in 2012, so have the fees merchants have to pay to accept credit and debit cards, a
According to their calculations, swipe fees account for about
Over the course of a year, the association estimates swipe fees add an extra
"The fees get higher and higher every year," says
But while the report paints retailers and consumers as the victim of money-hungry banks profiting off of surging gas prices, those in the credit card industry are crying foul. According to some, it's the retailers that are being greedy. After scoring a victory on
In a statement,
"Convenience stores promised lower prices when they were lobbying for this new law -- but once they got the money, they kept it for themselves," she adds.
What's more, card companies have made a concerted effort to unlink rising transaction fees from rising gas prices. Visa and
"As the cost of fuel has risen, this program has led to retailers having lower payments-related costs with each filling of the tank," he adds. "To date, gasoline retailers have received more than a quarter of a billion dollars in savings."
Despite the cap on debit fees, Kantor argues that the law only applies to institutions with more than
And with more than a quarter of consumers opting to use credit when pumping gas, all bets are off for retailers and consumers when it comes to the fees levied by card companies to process credit transactions, Kantor says. That's because the federal government doesn't regulate credit transactions the way they do with debit transactions.
"There's no legislation on credit card fees right now," Kantor says. "We do think there should be reform of credit card fees, that these are a major problem."
But critics argue that the NACS report is just another instance of convenience store retailers trying to get something for nothing.
"They want to continue enjoying the benefits of our nation's payments system -- from lower costs to fraud prevention -- without paying for it or providing lower prices to their customer base,"
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Is Your Bank To Blame for Pain at the Pump? | Politics
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