- Centurion Member
- Posts: 875
- Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:32 pm
- Location: Texas
My limited understanding of the recent CC reforms is that merchants now are allowed to charge a fee for accepting credit cards if they desire. That is to say, the CC companies can't require merchants to agree not to charge a fee as they did in the past when merchants could only offer discounts for cash. If you lived in my neighborhood and liked to drink, you'd have seen two examples of how this works.
Liquor store No. 1 has always offered 5% discount for cash or debit. It's the only place I use my debit card. I've almost never seen a customer in there pay with credit. Some beer and a few bottles of wine can run $100 easy, and 5% of that is, of course, five bucks, or a pack of smokes for some.
Liquor store No. 2 is the immigrant-owned Mom & Pop. They always used to have a little handwritten sign on their register saying that a fee would be charged for CC purchases under $10 or $20 (I forget which). This was clearly in violation of the agreements they signed with the CC companies, but I don't think it was "illegal." However, I noticed that after the reforms they took the sign down. When I was in the store buying a six-pack I asked if they still charged the CC fee and the clerk (Mom) said yes. I asked her if a fee would apply if I used my debit card and could not get a straight answer from her. I paid with cash and left the store -- for the very last time.
I don't think govt. can or would dicker with interchange fees to any significant degree. If there is going to be change on this front, it will be led by merchants (the CC companies made the status quo and like it fine). Activist merchants will either pick up a carrot (liquor store No. 1) or a stick (store No. 2). In the end, as always, consumers will decide.
American Express: Blue Cash Preferred (groceries, 6%; gas, department store, 3%); Gold Delta SkyMiles (Delta Air Lines, 2 miles/dollar, free checked bag).
US Bank: Cash+ (utilities, phone, internet, restaurant, 5%; drugstores, 2%).
FIA Card Services: Fidelity Amex (everything, 2%); Fidelity Visa (everything, 1.5%).
Chase: Freedom (rotating, 5%); Amazon (Amazon.com, 3%); PriorityClub (IHG hotels, 5 points/dollar); Sapphire (not in use).
*All cards are registered with PriorityClub IDine program for 8 points/dollar at participating restaurants.