Wednesday, September 28, 2005

NATSO to join battle against credit card issuers (

By Lance Orr

NATSO, the trade association representing America's travel plaza and truck stop industry, will join other merchant associations in a class-action lawsuit that alleges that Visa USA, MasterCard International and a number of major banks are engaging in collusion in setting interchange fees.Credit card fees have greatly increased in recent years, and the interchange portion of that fee – set by Visa, MasterCard and banks – is one of the highest in the world, averaging an estimated 1.7 percent.

When a travel plaza accepts a credit or debit card in return for products or services, the transaction is processed through its bank and the issuer of the credit card. Both the issuing bank and the travel plaza's bank charge "interchange" fees for processing the transaction, and these fees are paid by the travel plaza operator.

Although interchange fees, which amount to $20-24 billion, are charged to cover the costs of credit risk and transaction processing, the fees have greatly increased throughout the years, while costs have declined.

The suit, which seeks injunctive relief as well as damages, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Sept. 23 by the law office of Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi. They acted on behalf of the National Association of Convenience Stores, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Cooperative Grocers Association.

[source: eTrucker News]