Speedway wants lower credit card fees for businesses

Speedway SuperAmerica LLC, with about 1,600 stores in nine states, has joined a nationwide push to reform credit card swipe fees.

Speedway SuperAmerica LLC, owner and operator of Speedway and SuperAmerica convenience stores, has collected 1.68 million customer signatures that will be joined with 3.7 million signatures collected by National Association of Convenience Stores in support of federal fee reform.

Copies of the signatures will be delivered to all members of Congress that serve Speedway’s nine state area, said Speedway President Tony Kenney on Thursday.

“These fees are our second highest operating expense, second only to the salaries and wages we pay to our nearly 18,000 employees,” he added.

Also called interchange fees, the charges can amount to between 2 and 5 percent of each purchase, according to Lyle Beck, NACS vice president.

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Fees also vary based on the type of card, store and transaction — there are more than 375 different rates for MasterCard, Beck said, which means retailers often don’t know what their fees will be each month.

So, for every dollar charged to a credit card, business owners receive 98 to 95 cents which forces business to pass the loss on to the consumer in the form of higher prices.

American consumers and merchants paid $48 billion last year in credit and debit card fees, according to the NACS.

“The fees are hidden, non-negotiable and inflate the prices that consumers pay for the everyday goods and services they need,” Kenney said.

Debit card purchases are normally processed at lower rates.

The amendment to the Restoring American Financial Stability Act, offered by Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), would “direct the Federal Reserve to ensure that debit card interchange fees be ‘reasonable and proportional’ to the costs incurred in processing the transaction,” according to a press release from Durbin’s office.

It would also remove provisions from Visa and MasterCard’s contracts and allow businesses to offer incentives for using a specific card.

The measure was not included in the House version, and will be considered for inclusion in the final version of the bill.

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