According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: Banks are swiping our money

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Banks are swiping our money

Sam and I don’t care much for banks. Atta boy Sam, bark at ‘em (he’s barking).

Apparently, a bunch of merchants over on Vashon Island aren’t crazy about banks either; the merchants have started a campaign asking their customers to pay cash for purchases because of high credit/debit card swipe fees.

What a racket banks have. We give them our money and they do everything in their power to avoid giving it back. If they do give some back they give it very grudgingly, charging us exorbitant fees and making us sign over our organs, our first born children, our houses and our cars and whatever else they can think of. Oh, but the banks are just looking out for our best interests (they say). They have to protect our deposits and their stockholders, don’t they?

Sam and I say banks are greedy. Case in point, they whined so much about a recent Fed proposal to limit fees they charge merchants for processing debit and credit card purchases – swipe fees - that the Fed weenied. The banks were charging as much as 44 cents for a swipe of a card. The Fed was going to limit the swipe fee to 12 cents (yay Fed!), but it caved to the whining big banks and credit card companies and agreed to allow a 21 cent charge until at least October (boo Fed!). You know what will happen in October? You and I, the poor consumer, will get ripped off once again.

Reportedly, Elizabeth Duke – whoever she is - was the only member of the Fed’s Board of Governors to oppose the decrease to 21 cents (Thanks Duke!)

Do you realize that 44 cents is almost half a dollar? Not only are the retailers getting their pockets picked, so are we. If I just buy a wee miserable little cup of coffee and a measly chocolate donut hole and charge a buck or buck and a half, my purchase will cost the merchant most or all of his/her profit and result in a loss. Next time I come around to buy a coffee and donut the retailer refuses to take my debit card for so small a purchase or raises the price of a coffee and donut.

Some merchants are installing ATM machines in their stores so they don’t have to pay swipe fees. I went to buy lunch at a cafeteria-style restaurant a while back and was informed that the restaurant didn’t accept debit cards. But I was welcome to obtain cash from the ATM which stood against the opposite wall. Guess who got stuck paying an extra $1.50 for lunch? On a vacation to California recently I used a bank ATM that was not networked to my credit union and it cost me $3 to withdraw $20.

The Consumerist reports that combined credit and debit card payments at merchants have almost tripled over the last decade, to more than 58 billion swipes, according to data compiled by the Nilson Report, a journal on the payment industry. The Nilson Report article apparently went on to say that while an individual swipe seems like a small amount of money — the sheer volume of credit card transactions makes swipe fees so expensive for retailers, Home Depot reportedly pays more in credit card fees than it does for employee health insurance and Target's second largest store expense is credit card fees — after payroll.

Sam and I say three bags of poop on high swipe fees.

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