7-Eleven Inc. is trying to solicit 1 million signatures from customers for a petition calling for Congress to change credit card processing fees. Company officials call the transaction fees, charged each time a card is swiped, “unfair and excessive,” according to a story in the Dallas Morning News.
“The card companies merely pick a rate and then they charge away–no notice, no discussion,” says Keith Jones, a 7-Eleven lobbyist, in the story. “In fact, we rarely know before we start paying higher fees that the card companies have new rates.”
The rates hit operations like convenience stores the hardest because the rate at which consumers are using credit and debit cards is increasing, but sometimes the purchases are for small dollar amounts, resulting in a loss at times for retailers.
7-Eleven alone, with 6,300 stores in the U.S., paid $160 million to credit card companies last year. It’s working with the National Association of Convenience Stores, which represents 146,000 stores nationwide, to lobby Congress for fee reform.
Three bills are pending before Congress that would give merchants the ability to collectively negotiate for lower credit fees, according to the story. The credit card industry says the measures would violate antitrust laws.
7-Eleven isn’t the only major retailer complaining about transaction fees. At a recent conference, a Home Depot executive noted the company pays more in credit processing fees than it does for health care for employees. In fact, the fees are the third largest cost for the mega-retailer behind rent and salaries.
Read the full story about 7-Eleven here.