Credit Check

Do you accept credit cards? The past several weeks have been very busy and very fruitful for the International Parking Institute and our members in helping bring some understanding to high credit and debit card swipe fees that affect the parking industry. Swipe fees have increased dramatically over the past 15 years, and they’re now a top cost for parking operators. Why the rise? It’s simply because the fees are set by Visa and MasterCard, and they have the market cornered.

Earlier this month, IPI announced it had joined the Merchants Payments Coalition to combat  unfair swipe fees. The Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) is a group of retailers, supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, fuel stations, online merchants, and other businesses fighting against unfair credit card fees and for a more competitive and transparent card system that works better for consumers and merchants alike. The coalition’s member associations collectively represent about 2.7 million stores with approximately 50 million employees.

We’re taking other steps in this area as well. Last Monday, I met with Dan Swanson, counsel to U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, to discuss the Durbin Amendment, swipe fees’ effects on the parking industry, and what we can do about the issue as an association and industry. IPI and the MPC view the passage of debit card fee reforms—often referred to as the Durbin Amendment—as a step toward creating a fairer and reasonable payments marketplace. Swanson said he is happy to talk with any of our members and provide insight on this issue. He can be reached at 202.224.2152.

Wednesday, Liz Garner and Doug Kantor of the MPC presented Credit and Debit Swipe Fees: Combating Invisible Costs as part of IPI’s monthly webinar series. They gave a legislative, regulatory, and legal overview of the issues. They also provided details about  the court case brought against the Federal Reserve for poor implementation in their final rulemaking that gave major credit card brands latitude to increase rates on small ticket transactions. You can access the archived version of the webinar here.

IPI will keep you informed of the latest happenings on this issue and with the coalition, but in the meantime, you can control some of your costs by taking advantage of IPI’s Payment Processing Program through AMG Payment Solutions. It is the best program in the industry and will show a direct benefit to your bottom line while IPI works to lower the bigger cost of interchange fees.

 

About Henry Wallmeyer

Henry Wallmeyer is executive director of the Association for Commuter Transportation.

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