Thursday, March 15, 2007

"Visa Hikes Merchant Fees on High-Limit Card" (via BankNet 360)

According to BankNet 360, "merchants will pay an average of 14% more per transaction when customers use their new Signature Preferred Visa card. Visa USA Inc. said next month it will start issuing the high-end plastic line to its 'bigger spenders,' those who charge more than $50,000 a year... The hike is likely to exacerbate tension between the card industry and retail merchants who say they already pay too much in interchange fees." Commentary: More fee increases? As lead plaintiff in what is one of nation's largest antitrust litigation's, we thought the card associations and its member banks would temper their allegedly brazen anticompetitive illegal price fixing, but apparently not. Rates keep rising, while other technologies keep lowering their fees.

Two recent national newspaper's (WSJ and USA Today) recently profiled our use of technology to increase efficiencies and lower prices. Even one of our vendors just switched from thick, carbon-copy service reports to smart, single page electronic forms which cut costs and enhanced efficiencies. Another example: a study of the cost of one TeraByte of storage; it cost a whopping $1 million in 1992. Within one year, the cost was cut in half to $550,000. By 1997, it was $50,000 and in 2,000 the cost was $8,500. This year, a consumer can easily buy one TeraByte of storage for $130. From $1 million to $130 in just over a decade. Now look at merchant fees; since 1999 the interchange fees for debit cards have risen about 300%.

[Source: via BankNet 360, subscription required]