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November 19, 2009

Merchants Like Their Reading of the GAO Interchange Report

The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) released the following statement in response to today's release of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, "Credit Cards: Rising Interchange Fees Have Increased Costs for Merchants but Options for Reducing Fees Pose Challenges."

"The GAO confirmed key problems that we have raised about credit card interchange fees, also known as 'swipe' fees," said Lyle Beckwith, NACS senior vice president of government relations. "They found that the 10 largest banks have a stranglehold on this market, have used it to raise their fees, which all consumers pay, and that small businesses and low-income, cash-paying consumers get the worst deal from this arrangement."

"And though Visa and MasterCard claim that swipe fees have not been increasing, and that credit card use increases sales for merchants, the GAO report solidly debunks both of those claims," said Beckwith. "The GAO report should sound the alarm that it is time for Congress to reform swipe fees."

The GAO report confirmed many of the most harmful aspects of unfair, hidden fees swipe fees that are incurred every time a consumer pays by debit or credit card. The report shows that the credit card companies and their issuing banks mislead the public about their increasing rates and about the benefits of credit cards to businesses. The report also outlines an unfair, anti-competitive system that hurts Main Street businesses and their customers in order to pad the banks' bottom lines, with little relation to the actual costs of processing payments.

The report makes it clear that, unless Congress acts to bring competition and transparency into the interchange system, the big banks and credit card companies will keep lining their pockets at the expense of small businesses and consumers nationwide.

Industry Says GAO Finds That Consumers Could Be Harmed by Interchange Regulation

The Electronic Payments Coalition has issued the following statement in response to today's release of a report on interchange fees from the Government Accountability Office:

Today's GAO report concludes that consumers could be harmed if Congress acts to lower what merchants pay to accept debit and credit.

As the GAO noted in its report, merchants receive myriad benefits when they accept debit and credit cards, including increased sales and reduced labor costs. But giant retailers have been lobbying Congress to pay less than their fair share, and have their customers pay for these fees instead.

The GAO's report leads to a clear conclusion: current interchange legislation places the needs of giant retailers over the needs of consumers. We urge Members of Congress to protect the interests of their constituents, and to oppose harmful interchange legislation.

CGAP Report Finds Four Forces to Shape Future of Mobile Banking

The growing use of branchless banking, including mobile phone banking, is inevitable in most countries. But it's far less certain whether large numbers of the unbanked poor will use these alternative channels for financial services beyond payments, such as savings and credit. So says "Scenarios for Branchless Banking in 2020," a new report from CGAP, a microfinance group based at the World Bank, and the U.K.'s Department for International Development (DFID). READ MORE »

GAO Releases Study on US Card Interchange Fees

GAO Interchange Study-Nov2009-d1045.jpgThe US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just released a report on interchange fees on payment cards in the US. The report, titled "Credit Cards - Rising Interchange Fees Have Increased Costs for Merchants, but Options for Reducing Fees Pose Challenges", is available for download on the GAO's website.

READ MORE »

American Express Creates New Unit to Provide Consulting

American Express has announced the launch of American Express Business Insights, a new analytics and consulting organization that Amex says "draws on the power and reach of the Company’s global network to help business customers develop better-informed strategies to grow their business." READ MORE »

J.P. Morgan's Best Practices in Fighting Corporate Payments Fraud

J.P. Morgan has issued a report titled “Payments Fraud: How It Happens And What You Can Do To Protect Your Organization” in which the company shares best practices for battling check, automated clearing house (ACH), and credit card fraud, as well as tips on protecting treasury operations from advanced phishing techniques. The report also explores the key areas of fraud vulnerability and proliferation, and reviews fraud protection products and services available today. READ MORE »

Miami International Airport Accepts MasterCard PayPass

Affiliated Computer Services has announced that Miami International Airport will accept MasterCard PayPass contactless payments in its parking lots starting December 2009. MasterCard PayPass is a fast, cashless payment option that enables travelers to pay for parking simply by tapping their PayPass-enabled MasterCard card or device on a PayPass reader. The Miami International Airport PayPass implementation is being managed by ACS, an industry leader in airport parking systems. READ MORE »

3Delta Systems Certifies with RBS WorldPay

3Delta Systems has announced that it has been certified to directly process electronic payment transactions with RBS WorldPay. RBS WorldPay offers merchants an range of payment processing solutions – from face-to-face to online, servicing all sizes and sectors of business. READ MORE »

Headline News - November 19, 2009

Note: Throughout the day, as Payments News happens, this post is updated. For job opportunities available for payments professionals, visit PaymentsJobs.com. Employers looking to hire payments professionals can post their job openings there as well.

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