Hidden Card Swipe Fees May Cripple Businesses
One day after the Credit Card Act went into effect, one trade group is concerned that swipe fees could total $48 billion for small businesses and their customers.
The Merchants Payments Coalition said Congress has yet to take action on swipe fees, which are also referred to as interchange fees. According to the coalition, the $48 billion that Americans paid in swipe fees in 2008 is more than they paid in annual fees, cash advance fees, over-the-limit fees, and late fees combined. Since 2001, swipe fees have tripled as the cost of processing the transactions has decreased, the group noted.
As other credit card reforms take effect, American businesses and consumers will still pay over $130 million in swipe fees, according to the coalition.
"As long as the big banks and credit card companies get to keep lining their pockets with these unfair, hidden fees, we won't truly have reform. You can't fix the abusive credit card system without fixing the biggest hidden fee of all-and that's the swipe fee," said Jennifer Hatcher, vice president of government relations at the Food Marketing Institute.
The Merchants Payments Coalition is a group of retailers, supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, fuel stations, on-line merchants and other businesses.