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Ten months after the American retailers won a lobbying victory on Capitol Hill against debit card swipe fees, a trade group representing convenience stores is pushing for the government to crack down on similar fees for credit cards. According to a new report from the National Association of Convenience Stores, swipe fees were adding roughly 7 cents per gallon to the price of gas at the beginning of April, with credit card swipe fees alone costing convenience stores $11.1 billion in 2011.
Although financial speculation in the oil futures markets receives far more attention, swipe fees also serve as a way for Wall Street to profit from consumer pain at the pump. In return for the privilege of accepting plastic, banks charge retailers a fee for every card swipe. On credit cards, that fee is a percentage of the total price tag of each purchase. So the more a customer spends on gas, the higher the fee charged to retailers. Retailers pass these costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices.
“When fuel prices go up, banks receive a windfall without providing any additional services or value to merchants or customers,” states the National Association of Convenience Stores report.
Huffpost | APRIL 9, 2012