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?