Count me a consumer who’s sick and tired of being taken advantage of by Wall Street Banks and the major credit card providers. For the privilege of receiving debit-cards from the huge banks, the smaller banks and credit unions are rewarded by being slapped with excessive transaction fees when purchases are made using those cards. While the average cost of servicing a debit or prepaid card purchase is 4 cents per transaction the big banks force payment of 44 cents. Where’s the fairness there?
The local merchant has little choice but to pay that exorbitant fee if he or she wants to continue selling widgets since MasterCard and Visa comprise about 80 percent of the worldwide market. Merchants then pass a goodly portion of that that cost along to you and me in higher prices for products.
The debit-card transaction fee charged by the huge banks and credit card companies has risen an almost unbelievable 300 percent in less than a decade – a rate that would make a loan shark envious. That easily exceeds the growth rate of payroll and health care, the two biggest costs of doing business.
But the story doesn’t end there. When the retailer is forced to pay skyrocketing transaction fees –even if the consumer eventually pays the bulk of the expense – it handcuffs the ability of local small businesses owners to grow their business, expand inventory, charge lower prices and hire new employees.
Many were buoyed last year when relief appeared headed our way when Congress imposed a “12-percent cap” on transaction fees scheduled to begin on July 21. Now deep-pocketed Wall Street bankers are rallying opposition, trying to at least delay – if not outright kill –those overdue reforms. Congress recognized the extent of the problem (the Senate voted in favor of the reform 66-33) and its solution deserves a chance to accomplish the good intended. Let’s put consumers before greedy world banks.