7-Eleven Asks Consumers To Help Fight Credit Card Companies

7-Eleven plans to serve up your next Slurpee with a petition to Congress protesting unfair credit card fees. No, the fees aren’t unfair to you, they’re unfair to 7-Eleven. The vendor of last resort is mad about interchange fees, the fees banks charge merchants for accepting a credit card payment. The recent credit card legislation signed into law protected consumers from rate increases, but stayed silent with regards to interchange fees.

7-Eleven says the fees are becoming more burdensome to small businesses as people increasingly use plastic to pay for even minor purchases. These days, Jones noted that it’s not unusual for people to buy a pack of gum or cup of coffee with a credit card. He noted that the average purchase at 7-Eleven totals just $6.

“If you’re a very low margin business, that kills you,” Jones said.

Last year, Jones said 7-Eleven paid $160 million in bank card fees, up from $40 million five years ago — a 300 percent increase.

Interchange fees generated by bank cards totaled $23.99 billion in revenue last year, according to Card & Payment. That accounted for about 19 percent of revenue from bank cards.

While card companies such as Visa and MasterCard set the fees, the revenue is distributed to multiple entities, including the merchant’s bank and the issuing bank — with the latter getting the bulk of the fees, said Kate Fitzgerald, associate editor at Cards & Payments.

Creditors sputter out all the usual talking points to defend their interchange fees, saying that lower fees for businesses would raise rates and undermine benefits for consumers, yadda yadda yadda. This is a business-to-business problem, not one that consumers need to add to their already lengthy list of credit card concerns.

Would you consider signing 7-Eleven’s petition?

7-Eleven Rallies Customers Against Card Fees [WDSU]

Comments

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  1. henrygates says:

    I would. Interchange fees are like any other universal business expense, and they are passed on to the customer. Businesses don’t pay fees and taxes, their customers do.

    • anduin says:

      @henrygates:
      Only problem I have with that is these places will raise prices regardless and just take a larger profit margin.

    • Radi0logy says:

      @henrygates: Yeah they pass on the fees to us. And if the fee gets removed then they just keep it. So either way the consumer gets screwed. I guess its just a matter of which business do you want to see steal more of our cash? Banks? Or small businesses?

      • frank64 says:

        @Radi0logy: This is a cynical view and I know this is the place for it. But especially right now business really see the benefit of keeping prices low and competition does matter. So they do not always keep it. Or they might right away, but as other costs go up, they may use these as an offset and not raise prices.

        • Radi0logy says:

          @frank64: Businesses see the benefit of keeping prices low? Heh have you been to the movie lately?

          • lincolnparadox says:

            @Radi0logy: The BigK next door to my Cinemark multiplex sells pocket and purse-sized boxes of theatre candy. If they would just sell pocket-sized bottles of water, my life would be perfect.

    • wvFrugan says:

      @henrygates:

      I get so tired of hearing this stupid BS of businesses don’t pay taxes blah blah blah… Have you ever put any logic into that statement? Let me help you out because I’m a nice guy: 1) a business sells a product or service based all costs (which includes taxes & credit card interchange fees) & profit issues, 2) the business’ customer pays with money earned in one fashion or another & said earned money is most often a result of the buyer having sold their time at a certain rate, 3) the rate at which the time was sold included the SAME issues the business considered (including all costs such as personal income taxes & the current value of that money to purchase goods & services).

      So one could say that individuals don’t pay fees & taxes, the businesses they work for do (because the customer sold his time for money based on the total cost of goods & services and passed the cost onto the business they worked for).

      Everyone pays, now the percentage is in constant flux back & forth as businesses & consumers/money earners try to increase their margins. You might be able to argue that businesses don’t pay taxes if every penny of profit & loss in every regard was immediately transferred to individuals, but it is not: we have the shell game businesses play with profit & losses, to benefit their stakeholders by managing/timing them, as well as other factors such as non-liquid/long-term assets critical to operations, etc.

      Please save your universal anti-tax rants for directly related topics (attempts to tag them to every issue gets old).

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @wvFrugan: Yup. That argument is among the most muddled of economic arguments I’ve seen on the ‘net. And I have lived through the Ron Paul Presidential campaign.

        • Bryan Fernandez says:

          @Trai_Dep:

          Ron Paul’s the worst? That’s a piker, at least it never cost us a dime. I’ve lived through Obama’s.

          • superberg says:

            @Bryan Fernandez: Yes, these past six months have been just unbearable. Oh, the last eight years of falling wages and were marvelous! It was so cool to see all my hard work mean nothing!

            Ron Paul lives in a fantasy where a free market is is the solution to everything. Car repair too expensive? Not in a free market! Pirates stealing cargo from ships? Not in a free market! Got cancer? Not in a free market! If only there was a real incentive for people to cure cancer!

            Maybe if we were all Vulcans, it would work. But in a world of thieves and scam artists, a free market is a myth.

      • Megalomania says:

        @wvFrugan: While the blasé phrase itself might not be true, the intended point remains true – creating costs for companies will in general lead to those costs being passed onto consumers. It’s far easier for a company to pass costs onto its consumers than it is for an employee to pass costs onto their employer.

      • Jim Topoleski says:

        @wvFrugan: The problem with your argument (and its a good one) is that you assume ALL businesses sell a product.

        Most businesses actually dont, and its purely in a move to get AROUND having to pay taxes on anything by not actually physically selling anything that can be taxed.

      • z4ce says:

        @wvFrugan: I will agree in the argument “business don’t pay taxes consumers” do isn’t very accurate. However, “businesses don’t pay taxes, people do” is accurate. Since businesses are only groups of people called shareholders. When taxes rise the rise will be distributed between the shareholders and customers according to the supply/demand curves. If the rise is too high it might cause the item to become entirely unprofitable to continue to sell.

    • robodomo says:

      @henrygates: The businesses have to eat the interchange fees because they are not allowed to charge a different price for credit than they charge for cash

      • Nicholas Barnard says:

        @robodomo: Not true.. They can give you a “cash discount” they just can’t charge a “credit card surcharge” Yeah, its the same thing, just different verbage..

  2. Megalomania says:

    I think that if end consumers got protections, then merchants who are also customers of the credit card companies should have gotten some sort of protection. The logic behind the credit card act was that if lenders made sane decisions about who to offer credit to, they wouldn’t need to indulge in such shady practices to cover the bad bets.

    With their hands tied on some shady practices, that leaves the middlemen wide open to shouldering the burden caused by poor decisions on the end of the credit card companies.

  3. EricLecarde says:

    I did 2 weeks ago. I like my local 7-11 and it seems fair enough that they’d want to keep their money in their pocket.

    • frank64 says:

      @EricLecarde: You think it is fair that they keep the money in THEIR pocket??????

      Get out you don’t belong here. (:

      It is just that you don’t here many take the merchants side here.

    • my secret identity says:

      @EricLecarde: I think I agree with you. I haven’t been with a 7-11 in a while since the nearest one is hardly ever on my route to anywhere, but I could pay them a visit sometime this week.

      I was actually reading up on credit cards and their charges recently. It seems odd to me that the banks charge such comparatively high prices for businesses with little profit margin.

      In my opinion there are only two real options:
      1. Set the price of everything slightly higher (so that it balances out between people who pay cash and the ones who pay credit)
      or:
      2. Fight the CC companies.

      I’d pick option 2.

    • KMan13 still wants a Pontiac G8 says:

      @EricLecarde:
      I signed too.
      Keep in mind, 7-11′s are franchises. I know the owner of the two in my town. I’d rather sign this than pay more for beer haha

  4. sven.kirk says:

    I would in a heart beat. I sometimes feel a little guilty buying a 50 cent fountain drink, and knowing that they are going to loose a good portion of that to fees. But at least I get some points.
    Until they cut out the interchange fee, and then we’ll loose the rewards programs.

    • 3DaysTillTheState_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @sven.kirk: IIRC, ALL of that went to fees. An interchange fee is a flat amount plus a percentage. Bearing in mind that the cup alone costs the 7-11 $.50, not including the soda, and adding in the fee, that drink may have cost them more than what they paid for it.

      • ncboxer says:

        @3DaysTillTheState_GitEmSteveDave: A cup costs them $.50? Uh, that doesn’t seem right. It should be several pennies in cost to them at the most. A paper cup doesn’t cost me $.50 to buy at a grocery store.

        I do agree though that credit fees ate up what profit 7-11 made. I always pay in cash if something is under $5 (and usually under $10) too.

        • 3DaysTillTheState_GitEmSteveDave says:

          @ncboxer: @anduin: I used to work at 7-11. The cups actually cost what the prices are on display. For Police/EMS/Fire(anyone in uniform) as well as ourselves, we had “courtesy cups” which were white and had courtesy cup written on them. Why did we give people in uniforms free drinks? Because doing the graveyard shift that I did, we liked cops showing up at random times to keep the crooks honest.

          How it was explained by my boss was, as you buy more cups, in quantity, you get a discount. So as you sell more, the cups cost less, which is how they start to become somewhat profitable. I learned this when I mischecked an order in from McClane one day at 3am, and said we received a box of cups we never did, which cost us a bit of money. Since they were 7-11 branded cups, it’s part of how they make money off the franchises, as they can only use company branded cups.

          • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

            @KeepingTheForeName_GitEmSteveDave:

            No no no no no. The 7-Eleven store PAYS $.05-.10 for the cup. The amount of revenue they are expected to make from the cup is the price on display. That is important, because the franchiser takes a portion of the store’s profits, and they base their cut on the revenue the store should have had based on the value of the merchandise left in the store after an audit (where they count up the value of everything in the store at that time). They know how much you ordered, they know how much you sold, they know what should be left, and they know what IS left, and any discrepancy is bad for the franchisee. Using one of the regular Slurpee cups and not paying for it means you’ve removed that cup from inventory without adding anything to the revenue, which contributes to the discrepancy at the time of the audit.

            BUT there is a way to rectify that discrepancy when merchandise was taken out of inventory without generating revenue – the write-off. Writing an item off subtracts its retail price from the expected revenue – thus it only affects the bottom line by the amount it COST the store. They do it with cups that are thrown away by the customers for whatever reason, they do it with food that has been on the grill too long (well… sometimes), they do it with food that is past its expiration date that they don’t get credit for (vendors like snack companies who stock their own portion of the shelves give credit for their expired food, so the store doesn’t have to worry about that).

            Obligatory:

            Kramer: It’s a write-off for them.
            Jerry: How is it a write-off?
            Kramer: They just write it off.
            Jerry: You don’t even know what a write-off is.
            Kramer: Do you?
            Jerry: No, I don’t.
            Kramer: But they do, and they’re the ones writing it off.

          • krista says:

            @2DaysTillTheState_GitEmSteveDave: Cant_stop_the_rock is correct – the cups are just inventoried at the full price, but that’s not how much they cost. I was assistant manager for several years at 7-11, and was in charge of ordering the cups and syrup.

            I’m pretty sure the total cost for a fountain soda, including the cup, ice and syrup, is under 10 cents at most convenience stores and restaurants – the rest is profit.

      • anduin says:

        @KeepingTheForeName_GitEmSteveDave:
        man you must be shopping at the wrong places if youre buying cups for 50 cents

  5. shepd says:

    Free slurpees today, BTW. Just ask.

  6. balthisar says:

    I try not to abuse the “no minimum purchase limit” when using my card. Still, $5 or $6 is fine. Merchants can either raise their prices, or not take cards. Then it’s a commercial decision. Non-card-using whiners (“why make me pay more?”) can shop someplace else in the case of the former, or I can shop someplace else in the case of the latter.

    As it is now, I don’t see that this is a problem worthy of additional government interference into contract law or commercial relationships. If we get to the point where there’s a legitimate problem of a mass scale, then we can worry about calling out the big guns.

    • anduin says:

      @balthisar:
      Yup, this seems more of a case of everybody putting their hand out for a…”hand out” /facepalm

    • frank64 says:

      @balthisar: I don’t like government interference either. I think the problem is that the monopolistic power of the credit card companies force the merchants to either accept the fees or you can’t use the cards at all.

      This is really put them between a rock and a hard place. Competitively they have to accept them, but they are then forced to accept them even for small unprofitable purchases. Consumers don’t understand the smaller points and this puts the merchant between the consumers and the CC companies.

      • lincolnparadox says:

        @frank64: All it takes is one credit card company to do away with interchange fees, or switch to a percentage instead of a flat fee. If 7-11 wanted to change things, they should make a deal with Discover or Amex. Then convince customers to switch.

        I’m sure that Walmart/Sam’s has some kind of sweetheart deal with them already.

    • bilge says:

      @balthisar: How can you abuse a “no minimum purchase” limit? There’s no limit–nothing to abuse.

      • balthisar says:

        @bilge: Let’s say that I try to be conscientious of the fact the merchants do have to pay. I know there’s no limit, but merchants have to pay anyway, and so I try not to charge $1.19 for a bottle of Gatorade, unless I’m also purchasing something else.

  7. HiPwr says:

    I wouldn’t even consider signing this unless 7-11 started reducing the prices of items in their stores for cash-paying customers. They pass these fees on to me regardless of my payment method and then want to cry about it?

    • Megalomania says:

      @HiPwr: Part of the merchant agreement that they have to accept prevents the merchant from charging fees to credit card users. The workaround of course is to give a discount for paying in cash, but then they can’t advertise low prices anymore.

    • frank64 says:

      @HiPwr: Your argument is actually for the merchants you are complaining about. The merchants are forces to do just what you describe.

      • HiPwr says:

        @frank64: Are they? There is a gun store here in town that gives discounts to cash purchases. Until 7-11 does that, I don’t want to hear their whining.

        • Megalomania says:

          @HiPwr: 7-11′s products are generic and the only real way they have to differentiate themselves is by price.

        • reynwrap582 says:

          @HiPwr: The gun store probably is violating their merchant agreement, but being one single gun store (or even a small chain), isn’t going to get noticed. 7/11 violating the terms would most definitely result in backlash, as it wouldn’t go unnoticed.

  8. wrjohnston19283 says:

    Here’s my feeling about this – A) a crappy article – what is the fee as a percent of sales? That’s what really matters – has that increased? Was it outrageous to begin with? B) retailers don’t have to accept credit cards (7-11′s might have to due to their franchise agreement, but that was still a business decision by the franchisor). The place I worked at in high school just got a credit card machine this past spring. Is she happy paying a fee? No. But she made a business decision that the amount of additional money she would bring in was more than the fees she would have to pay. C) It’s a cost of business. Would you sign a petition 7-11 had to try to get the cost of Pepsi down? The cost of a bag of chips? The cost of the rent the 7-11 is paying?

    By accepting credit cards, you also keep your cash in the store low – less money for a thief to steal and for your employees to steal. You also don’t have to count the money, handle the money, bring it to the bank, make change. There is a benefit to all that, however small, that I don’t think many people consider when looking at these fees. (When I sell something on eBay, I’d much rather get paid via Paypal than by some other form, as with Paypal I don’t have to worry about fake money orders, bogus checks, or worry about someone claiming to mail a payment that gets lost).

    I can understand that 7-11 owners are upset that THEY can’t make a decision not to accept credit cards, as I’d bet that the franchisor forces them to. But at the same time, I doubt any of the 7-11 owners would stop accepting them if they had the choice – they’d lose too much money.

    • Hoss says:

      @wrjohnston19283: I agree. Not a very informative article. If the fee is a percentage of sales, then why does it matter if we buy a pack of gum or fill the SUV with $60 in gas? I waste of time reading

      • chrylis says:

        @Hoss: It’s usually a flat charge (10-35¢ depending on the merchant’s negotiating clout) plus a percentage.

    • fantomesq says:

      @wrjohnston19283: Yeah if they charge you $1 for a drinbk and pay $.10 in ingredients and say $.25 for the transaction it reduces their ‘normal’ 90% profit margin to a paltry 65%?!?

      There are costs inherent in any form of payment… even cash and credit cards are amongst the least expensive means of taking payment overall.

      • my secret identity says:

        @All: Let’s remember some things about businesses:

        1. They have vastly more expenses than just the cost of the product. Ever heard of employees, theft, or paperwork?

        2. The CC companies charge a certain amount AND a percentage. If you buy a pack of gum, unless it’s a really expensive pack of gum, it will cost the merchant money to sell it to you.

    • frank64 says:

      @wrjohnston19283: I don’t agree with the cost of business argument because everything is a cost of business and it should be up to the merchant how to allocate it. The more he allocates it to the customer actually incurring the costs the better I as a customer am in considering whether I want to pay it or not. The CC processors force this on the merchant with their monopolistic power.

      If a pizza place offers extra cheese, he can offer it at no charge or at an extra charge. If he doesn’t charge extra, either he eats it or someone not ordering extra cheese has to pay more. It is better to allocate the cost of the extra cheese only to the person who orders it. Otherwise most everyone would order the extra cheese anyway and the price would go up to about the full cost of extra cheese. I will have lost my ability to save money by not ordering extra cheese.

      If the pizza store were forced to give the extra cheese to everyone because the only cheese supplier available to him by contract made him, they would be forcing a higher cost onto the merchant and hiding the cost to the customer. This forces everyone to pay for the extra cheese and it hides the direct costs from customer.

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      @wrjohnston19283: This is how I feel about it too.. At my old job I ran an office where people would bring their kids in for lessons, and they had to pay a monthly tuition fee for that. The place only accepts cash and checks.. and all of that money is supposed to be in by the 10th of the month. I think my old boss would get many MORE payments in ON TIME if he would accept credit cards.. but he doesn’t want to do it because it is “too expensive”. Meanwhile he complains about late payments/no payments and the employee he hired to replace me stole tons of cash money.

      Lots of that could have been avoided if he would just accept credit cards and adjust his prices accordingly. He probably could have paid two years in CC fees with the ammount of money that chick stole. Meanwhile the teachers would have gotten paid for all of their lessons too.

      • my secret identity says:

        @Kimaroo: It’s your boss’s fault that people didn’t pay on time? How does that work?

        • god_forbids says:

          @my secret identity: When the boss fails to make it convenient for customers to “pay” on time (CCARDS being what they are), yeah, it kind of is his fault. Just try running a cash & check-only business sometime, as Kimaroo implied the security and accounting becomes a nightmare.

        • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

          @Identity’s heart button is broken.: I never said it was his fault, I just think there are things he could do to help the situation, rather than complain to me about it.

          It usually happens like this: Parent comes in with their kid for lessons, they say “I forgot my checkbook, I’ll bring you a check tomorrow/this week.” They forget, and wait until they are in next time.. which, depending on the month could be as late as the 15th.

          Or.. someone comes up and tries to hand me a credit or debit card and I tell them that we don’t take plastic. Then they have an annoyed look on their face and say that they will be back with some money. Sometimes they really do come back in and pay, but usually they drive off, and when their kid’s lesson is over they wait for them in their car to pick them up and then drive away.

          That’s just the way it is when you make it less convenient for someone to pay.

  9. Trai_Dep says:

    As loathe as I am to consider 7-11 a Mom & Pop business, what they say has merit. If creditors say that they can’t live with lower fees without hiking minimums to, say, $20, call their bluff.
    If it’s true then fine: consumers will relearn the ancient folk custom of carrying a tenner & two fivers in their pocket when leaving home. I’d imagine the extra weight could cause some knees to buckle and perhaps a couple spines to snap, but we’ll survive as a species. Assuming our ears don’t burst from the incessant whining of those against carrying small change on them.
    On the other hand if the multimillion dollar Debit – Don’t Use Cash! advertising campaigns were, in the end, a scam pushed by banks to generate fees where none existed before, then the creditors will have to turn down this needless, illusory “service”. Or at least, suck less blood from merchants to run it.

    • wcnghj says:

      @Trai_Dep: MINIMUMS are a merchant violation!

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @wcnghj: Then there shouldn’t be this artificial impediment. Let the market sort it out, without distortion. And, for this example, consortia may as well be the State, for their reach and power.
        We cater to flakes too muddled to carry $5 change might be a great starter ad campaign.
        It’d be interesting to see if their $0.80 bubble gum sells as well as the stores that snicker, point and laugh at people lacking half a buck in change when leaving home.

  10. evititoe says:

    It’s not just a percentage. There are multiple fees involved. As a small business owner, I pay about $50/month in fees.

    Here’s a breakdown of MY fees (your mileage may vary):

    ~2.29% of total purchase,

    PLUS $.25 transaction fee – that’s $.25 every time we run a card,

    PLUS ~$.50 batch fee (only charged for days we take a CC),

    PLUS $10/month statement fee.

    AND, there is a $25/month minimum when added together. So, if my fees only come up to $23, they tack on another $2 to make it $25.

    So, for a single $.50 pack of gum, it probably averages about $.27. For a $60 purchase, it would run about $1.65. That’s assuming you spread the batch and statement fees over hundreds over transactions. Fewer transactions per month = higher fees per transaction.

    It may not sound like a lot, but it does add up.

    Now, a big company like 7-11 is going to have much better rates, but this gives you an idea.

  11. Anonymous says:

    1) 7-11 will *not* lower their prices if they don’t have to pay these fees. Count on it.

    2) The credit card companies will simply start charging the fee to the consumer somehow. They will either raise rates or find some other way to ding you.

    Signing this petition simply says “I want to spend more money while helping 7-11 get bigger profits.” It will only cost you in the end.

  12. cozymoses says:

    Since when is 7-11 a “small business”?

  13. I Love New Jersey says:

    Why don’t they just buy a congressman or two? They are much cheaper than those fees.

  14. Jason Gooljar says:

    I would not help any corporation they could do it on their own. Let them fend for themselves.

  15. wcnghj says:

    PLEASE, if they don’t like the credit card fee, why do the accept credit cards?

    It’s a tax deductible cost of doing business.

  16. Jackie Stempin VanZyll says:

    As a small business owner of a heating and cooling company…let me be the 1st to tell you these fees SUCK!!! they charge you $.35 just for the transaction and then its a percentage of the payment on top of the trans. fee. After I pay for the equiment. I end up getting about 10% less profit when they pay w/ credit cards. Due to people being dependent on plastic we have to accept them or lose business. (and we shopped around for the lowest fees)

    • ColoradoShark says:

      @Jackie Stempin VanZyll: Do you offer a discount for cash or check? Frequently businesses also have to pay pretty good percentage to some kind of check guarantee company so cash would be king. Then again, walking around with cash is a serious security concern.

    • wcnghj says:

      @Jackie Stempin VanZyll: 10%??

      Lets say an average $100 purchase.

      (average between qual and non qual)!00*.030= $3+.35=$3.35 3.35%

    • fantomesq says:

      @Jackie Stempin VanZyll: So what form of payment would you prefer that costs you less? Checks bounce. Cash comes with its own hassles – labor to count and deposit, counterfeits, theft – both internal and external. How exactly are these credit card fees unfair?

      • Jackie Stempin VanZyll says:

        @fantomesq:
        Haven’t had a check bounce yet. Since we have only 3 employees (they are all partners in the business) and I get the PO’s on all the customers directly. We dont have employee theft either. Unless they want to steal from their own pay check. We dont get paid Hourly so no labor to count and deposit. So to answer your question either checks or cash.

  17. allthoseships says:

    OMG offer a discount to people paying with cash. there are a few gas stations around me that do this already for pumped gas. i know not all 7-11s have gas pumps, but they could still offer some sort of incentive to get their customers to pay cash.
    not that i care about this hurting banks, i care about it hurting smaller credit unions because that is a source of income for them to stay running.

    • madanthony says:

      @allthoseships:

      the problem is that current credit card agreements that retailers sign say if a retailer is going to offer a cash discount, each item needs to display both prices. Easy for a gas station that has 3 grades of fuel, and maybe Diesel. Not so easy for a c-store with thousands of items.

      I use a 5% cash back card for gas, and most of the stations around here only take off 4 cents for cash, so I’m ahead of the game paying credit.

      • fantomesq says:

        @madanthony: Credit card agreements do not require double pricing on merchandise… the prices must be for the non-cash-discounted price so its a cash discount not a credit card surcharge but I challenge anyone to show any verbiage saying that products need to be double tagged.

        • lincolnparadox says:

          @fantomesq: Offer fun cash for cash-paying customers. Basically a coupon for a future purchase. All you have to do is pay with currency.

  18. mrsultana can't get a password to work says:

    I would sign this in a heartbeat! Except, I’m still bitter at the grocery stores, airlines, and the likes.
    A year ago, everyone jacked up their prices because the cost of fuel had risen so much. They apologized, explaining that it was the only way to keep profit margins. Fast forward to today: The cost of fuel has dropped in many areas in half, but they kept the prices or extra charges and are just pocketing the difference.
    If 7-11 got their way, we wouldn’t see a dime in savings.

    • Dansc29625 says:

      @mrsultana: Why not foster more competition instead of more legislation.

    • Kogenta says:

      @mrsultana: Well, part of the problem there is that as the cost of fuel began to come down, the cost of raw ingredients started to go upwards, so any saving from the fuel being cheaper were instantly being offset by the rising price of wheat, grain and other staple products.

      Now that oil is starting to climb again, you can bet prices will start to rise again in a while.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I would definitely sign this petition. I’ve seen more and more places posting a sign up, “We no longer accept VISA.” because of the fees. I also see a lot of places with “$10 minimum purchase to use card” signs, etc. As a consumer, the fees directly harm me.

  20. Bunnyhat says:

    The problem with reducing the cost for cash paying customers is that some state laws make that illegal or some cumbersome to work around.

    It’s not just convince stores that get screwed in CC fees like this. Any small business that accepts credit cards get racked over the coals in charges. They simply don’t have the leverage like a company like Wal-Mart to get those fee’s reduced.

  21. madanthony says:

    I have mixed feelings on this – I understand that the fees suck for companies like 7-11, since they have lots of small transactions, so the flat fee kills them. I like using a rewards card, so I’d hate to see them raise prices or stop taking credit cards.

    OTOH, while I don’t like the fee structure and understand 7-11′S gripe, do we really need a LAW against it? It’s not government’s job to decide what fees a business can charge it’s customers, or that one group (retailers) should make more by making another group (banks) make less.

    • frank64 says:

      @madanthony: I think we might need a law only because Visa and Mastercard are much like a monopoly and these agreements are being forced on the merchant because of this.

      Because the fees are hidden from us, they have no incentive to lower them. I think if we had to pay them directly, the prices would come down as they do want to encourage CC use. Right now they have the best of both worlds.

      • Anonymously says:

        @frank64: I agree. Visa and Mastercard have serious duopoly powers. Either you take credit cards or you go out of business. It’s like some giant middle-man rose up and inserted itself into every POS transaction in the US.

  22. StanTheManDean says:

    Quote This is a business-to-business problem, not one that consumers need to add to their already lengthy list of credit card concerns.

    Unquote

    Hold on there little doggie, what happens to the retail merchant is always going to be passed onto the customer someway, somehow at a later date. The consumerist editors might not worry about that fee TODAY, but the consumerist editors will be screaming about the effects of the fee TOMORROW.

    And for the low $ transaction size merchants (obviously 7-11 would fall into that catagory), the interchange fee is obviously a significant issue. Especially as the fee is a flat rate and is applicable to every transaction. Think about it for a moment. The fee is $0.30 or more regardless of the size of the transaction, even if the customer is only purchasing the $1.00 local newspaper. I am willing to bet the merchant markup on the $1.00 product is far less than $0.30 fee.

    Now the flip side of this issue is the high $ transaction size merchants (think furniture/jewelry stores). The interchange rate in not an issue. The % take of the Credit Card company is the issue.

    As a merchant (if my volume is large enough), I can neogotiate the % take, but I can’t negotiate the interchange fee.

    Very, very unfair system.

    Of course small merchants try to control that stupid fee. This is why you find restaurants and convenience stores posting signs requesting a $5 minimum. Absolutely illegal under CC rules as the CC companies expect the merchant to sell the item(s) at a loss and smile while doing it. But you sell enough stuff at a loss and the business becomes a loss.

    One solution? Merchants have a minimum purchase amount for all customers. Period. Must buy $5 or buy nothing. Screw that idea. I want the Sunday paper and am willing to pay cold hard cash for the paper. I dont’t want to have to buy $4 of crap to go with the paper.

    Another solution? Raise the minimum selling price on every item in the store. Good for the merchant, bad for the consumers.

    I can’t come up with a good solution, but I can heartily agree with 7-11 about the stupid interchange fees.

  23. Dansc29625 says:

    The credit card companies, are companies and must do business. I wont call it making a profit, or bring in money, it is doing business. The fee is big enough so that the merchant wont stop taking cards.

    So Consumers I ask you, would you rather pay higher fees and interest or higher prices at the register?

    Heck I purchase dollar coins from the mint and do all of my petty spending with those.

  24. clyde55 says:

    Let’s see. Some local gas stations when gas prices were close to four dollars a gallon: We now have to charge more to customers using a credit card because of reduced profit margins due to our high cost of fuel.

    When gas prices dropped about two dollars a gallon: Still charging those fees to credit card customers.

    • MarginalMeaning says:

      @clyde55: My mother runs a gas station, and credit card fees are pretty bad. We lose a good deal of profit with credit card gas purchases. (In fact half the time our gas sales are at loss, luckily we also have a larger garage bay and stay afloat due to repairs and inspections) and our contract with the fuel company, and our computer system (it’s older) does not allow us to do discount prices for cash purchases.

  25. Karl says:

    I’d absolutely sign it. The interchange fees are passed on to the consumer, and for debit cards, there’s virtually NO REASON to charge a percentage of the sale. The banks are making a killing off of intercharge fees for debit cards that have less risk — and virtually zero risk if they instated some newer security measures. I suspect the per-transaction fees are also way too high — 5 cents or so seems reasonable.

  26. Red_Flag says:

    If 7-Eleven didn’t give a damn about Visa putting the screws on us, why should we give a damn about Visa putting the screws on them?

  27. Anonymous says:

    as a small business owner, I can tell you that the fees are not tax deductable and that if you want to get business in today’s market, you have to take credit cards. Does it seem fair to you that if you wanted business, you had to accept less than you normally sold your product for. This is far from “just the cost of doing business”.
    You can shop around all you want but the best deal you are going to get is around 2% with about $0.30 per transaction, $30 per month processing fee. If you are selling products for $100, you then lost 2.5% of your sale without accounting for any of your normal costs. Say you are selling something for only $20, then you just lost 3.5% of your sale. Then there is the cost of the machine, which will run you at least several hundred dollars or you can lease one for around $30 per month. Then when they change the terms of the contract on how much they charge you every month and that corporate cards and check/debit cards cost you a higher rate.
    What with what seems like everyone afraid to carry cash now, because the banks have made it seem as tho you only need a card and no plastic, people act as if you are weird if you want them to use cash. This makes it so that you have to use cards. So tell me why people say that it is whining to not aprove of these fees or that it is just a cost of doing business and that you decided to take cards. You do not have a choice about taking cards in today’s business unless you are in a few select lines of work like painters and gardeners.
    If you think that taking credit cards is a choice, then open a business and refuse to take them and see how long your business lasts.

  28. FrankReality says:

    I’d sign it too. The fees are passed on the consumer. I wish more businesses would do this.

    The alternative for 7-11 and other merchants is to raise prices, stop taking credit cards or requiring a minimum purchase for paying with a card. Our cafeteria at work will take credit cards, but requires a $5 minimum purchase.

    • frank64 says:

      @FrankReality: That 5 minimum purchase make sense because of the cost to the merchant, but guess what? That minimum goes against the Visa and MasterCard rules. I have seen on other forums some very self-righteous people who will call and complain about the merchants and force the merchants to accept them.

      They are forced to take a loss on some transaction in order to be able accept the cards at all, and some customers will force it down the merchants throat saying their rights are being violated. The merchant really is the middleman being screwed on both ends here.

      • wrjohnston19283 says:

        @frank64:

        I’ve actually heard that while Visa and Mastercard technically don’t allow minimum purchases, they don’t enforce it, so many small businesses will say “either $5 minimum or I’m not accepting credit cards at all”. Visa and MC don’t benefit from having the small business close the account, so they allow it.

        Again, this is just hearsay – but it does make a bit of sense.

    • MMD says:

      =@P_Smith: Nice theory…except if you go to the ATM in the 7-11 and it’s not your bank’s ATM, you’re paying an ATM surcharge of up to $2 or more. Then you’re actually paying money to pay money, not risking the chance of paying money to pay money.

      If you’re a responsible debit/credit user, that risk is minimal to nonexistent.

  29. frank64 says:

    In many ways it is just like what the NFL Network and other cable channels wants/wanted to do with cable companies, get everyone to pay it whether they want it or not. If people pay extra for it, there would be fewer takers and they would have would make less money.

    It is far cheaper for us if we get to choose our channels. I think the same hold for CC fees.

  30. P_Smith says:

    If you’re not going to stop buying small things with credit cards for 7-11′s sake, do it for your own. Go to the ATM in the 7-11 and get a $20 instead and pay with that, or better still, get back in the habit of carrying money.

    Every purchase you put on a card is one more you’ll have to pay off, one more risk of fees, one more risk of extra interest to pay off. Every time you pay with plastic, whether a credit card or debit card, you’re paying money to pay money. It’s idiotic to throw your money away on fees when cash doesn’t cost any.

  31. golddog says:

    “Low margin business”??? 7-11 is worse than whole Foods when it comes to senseless price markups.

  32. Andrew Farris says:

    It amazes me how many businesses won’t take discover or american express these days, but I’m pretty sure the fees are the main reason they choose one or the other or neither.

    I frequently have to put back both of them and pull the MC or Visa (and they have lame benefits!).

    The problem is I don’t want to spend cash, I want my network tracked transactions and I want my cash back benefits. I carry cash, but I routinely use cards instead even if I have the cash on me.

    I make one exception and that is to leave a cash tip when I can if service was great at a restaurant, but I’ll generally charge the meal and tip cash when I do that so the dining out transaction is still tracked.

  33. Joe Lachiana says:

    bravo 7-11 and FINALLY!!!!! These sons of bitches run ads making it seem “uncool” to use cash and this is KILLING businesses that deal in small dollar/high volume transactions. If a 75cent charge costs 85cents to process you LOSE money the more you sell!

    If they want to promote charging everything including $1 purchases then they need to WAVE THE FEES FOR TRANSACTIONS UNDER $10 OR FORGET IT. Now that some states (mass) are raising sales tax this will get even worse as prices go up and the businesses see NONE of the new money coming in BUT they still get to cover the transaction fees.

    Debit card transactions are cheaper BUT FAR FROM FREE. Everyone of my customers that use cards as the TV tells them to I INSIST that they only use credit when they hit up big name stores like 7-11 and even more so WALMART as if we piss of the big guy they WILL make the credit card companies listen.

    And it seems to be working.

    • frank64 says:

      @Joe Lachiana: Yeah, I guess when a sales tax is paid, the 1-3% charge for the CC transaction on that is also imposed on the merchant.

      The answer isn’t to legislate the exact fees merchants are charged, it is to give the merchants more flexibility on how they are allowed to impose them. Giving the consumer the choice also gives him pricing power and this encourages lower fees.

  34. goodcow says:

    Hmm, I bought an apple yesterday at 7-11 and charged it. It was $1.

    Sure I only charged $1. But why the fuck are they charging me $1 for an apple?

    • sqlrob says:

      @goodcow: “But why the fuck are they charging me $1 for an apple? “

      Did you pay it? If so, you answered your own question.

  35. hkcons3456 says:

    I would. Additionally, I would sign any petition that congress enact laws banning so-called rewards programs, teaser introductory interest rates, any kind of promotions by credit cards issuers for third party products resulting in charge to issuer’s credit card. I would also sign a petition to ban balance transfers between credit cards; balance transfers being strictly limited to balance transfers from a credit card to non-revolving installment loans only. I would also sign a petition for allowing merchants to set minimum purchase requirement for use of any kind of cards credit or debit. I would also sign a petition that card issuers issue distinctive cards so that one can identify on sight whether the card is a debit or a credit, and the merchant does not have to ask the card holder what kind of card it was.

    I am not a merchant. I am just looking at the root causes, which have resulted in credit card issuers’ abuses. Credit cards are meant to be a convenience and perhaps as temporary financing not to exceed twelve months. Perhaps a small annual fee would be in order too for that convenience. If the cardholders want to be greedy and fall for the gimmicks and tricks of card issuers in their attempts to increase market share and quantity at the cost of quality, why should they complain about the abuses of the card issuers? If a small minority of card holders manage to profit from gimmicks and tricks of card issuers, majority of card holders loose and loose heavily, no matter what laws the congress passes to curb card issuers’ abuses. Card issuers will always find some way to skirt around those laws.

    Also, if the Government should not be allowed to tell how card issuers should run their business, why that is not applicable to card issuers telling the merchants, how merchants should run their business?

  36. maruawe42 says:

    7/11 I’m with you .. give me the website to sign up…
    the legislation should cover a business’s fee also..
    They are hit with the same recessio that consumers are hit by..

  37. Floobtronics says:

    Absolutely, I support this. I even signed their petition. Those things don’t generally do a lot of good, but if enough people sign, maybe it might be enough of a blip on the radar to get noticed.

    Those fees almost always get passed on to the customer sooner or later anyhow, so am I in favor of lower prices, or at least not artificial price growth? Yup.

  38. SacraBos says:

    I do a little bit of on-line/mail-order using credit cards. Each transaction costs $0.27 + the discount rate (1.95%). So for a $30 purchase, I pay $0.86 in fees to the bank. That’s about 2.8% of the cost of doing business. That can be a good chunk of profit margin.

    Of course Visa/MC want you to think the world only runs smoothly run with a fully credit/debit card transacted system. Because it only run smoothly for THEM.

  39. hamburglar says:

    You ever notice how 7-Elevens are all the same? It doesn’t matter where you go!

  40. DjDynasty says:

    No, In fact I was at 7-11 today and saw the petition. I told the guy I wouldn’t sign it, because the more money his foreign owned ass pays to credit card companies, the more money that actually stays in the united states, instead of going back to India, or Pakistan.

  41. mbz32190 says:

    The 7-11′s near me didn’t even accept credit cards up until 3 or 4 years ago. I really don’t believe 7-11 should be complaining about fees since they always have the option not to accept credit (unless they are mandated by corporate I guess).

  42. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how many people who are commenting against the petition (rather, against the idea that the businesses carrying this extra cost seems fair) have actually seen it from the other side of the fence (the business side, and no i don’t mean a fortune 500 business but rather mom and pop stores that are very very common businesses everywhere).

    It’s night and day. The transaction fees are HUGE. 2-3% seems nothing, until you compare that “fee” to the other financial numbers, and you realize its just straight up eating away from your profits (or in todays world just adding to the losses).

    I’m willing to pay the fees as it is a service and the credit card companies are a business as well, and it really does make it convenient to get payments (checks and cash are a big hassle to deal with actually). But with that said, it needs to be ‘fair’ and I think that’s what this petition is about, since a business like 7-eleven gets KILLED since the purchases are cheap.

    My point is, you might not agree with the petition, but unless you’ve been on the other side, this might seem debatable. But if you run a mom and pop store, you know how rough those fees can get. It’s more brutal than it seems.

  43. pbj_sushi says:

    On Consumerist, the knee-jerk reaction is usually to stick it to a company, but ever since I learned about credit card/debit card fees here I’ve made a conscious effort to choose carefully when to use plastic.

    I live in a relatively small touristy town (very cute) that has a predominant amount of small businesses. They’re all owned by practically, and sometimes literally, my neighbors. I used to be proud of the fact that I used my debit or credit card for everything — easy money tracking! — but now the thought of swiping a card at any of these places, letting the “big companies” have a chunk of my neighbors’ income? It’s worth the hassle to stop by an ATM somewhere for them.

    I pretty much use my credit card for purchases online, expensive purchases that might require a credit card’s protections, online bill-pay and purchases at big box retailers whose policies I really don’t care for (Best Buy). My debit card doesn’t get used for anything but ATM withdrawals.

    I use cash to show my community I care. I’ve even asked the local vendors which way they would prefer I paid; I’ve asked how nasty their fees are. The replies are usually “3-5%”, and then they tell me how much they appreciate my awareness. I tell THEM how much I appreciate their cherry pie: homemade crust made with butter from a local dairy farmer, cherries grown by the small orchard up the street. *sigh*

    Vote with your dollars, people. We know our values better than Visa or Mastercard – if the big guys can’t help small businesses, we can certainly can.

    • West Coast Secessionist says:

      @pbj_sushi: cherry pie: homemade crust made with butter from a local dairy farmer

      Wow, sounds lovely. I want to move to your rainbows and sunshine town!

  44. Hank Morrow says:

    I would be for regulating b2b fees. In the end, it drives up the cost for everyone, even those of us that use cash..

  45. ponycyndi says:

    I signed it. I love my 7-11. Free Slurpees for all!

  46. Anonymous says:

    While I appreciate this is not, on its face, a consumer issue – many business feel the interchange fee beast is against the law. This has been the subject of ongoing litigation since 2005. See In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount in the Easter Dist. of NY alleging Visa, Mastercard and the member banks are violating anti-trust laws. If you understand the inscestous relationship between Visa and Mastercard and its overlapping bank membership, it is not unreasonable to see why merchants cry foul.

  47. valthun says:

    I did sign the petition at my closest 7-11 that i frequent often. I think that the solution to this issue is % to max amount. So that a 75 cent charge doesn’t cost the retailer 6 dollars. But say make 6 the max amount they can charge, but only until the charge equals 6 from a percentage of the sale.

  48. SixSide says:

    I’ve already signed it once, and the next time I’m in a 7-11 I’ll sign it again.

  49. boomshakla says:

    A petition isn’t going to change anything, I thought posters on this site knew better than that. Oh, here’s a bunch of people’s names, let’s change, no one ever thinks that. I can’t think of a petition ever making worldwide change. They are only good when you are told by government/city to do so, like when I became part of my student council in high school.

    While I do agree that transaction fees can be a burden, I will never sign a petition like this, not that I’ve been there lately anyway.