CONSUMER ALERT: The Swipe Fee War - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

CONSUMER ALERT: The Swipe Fee War

HUFFINGTONPOST.COM - Charlie Chung runs Cups & Co., a coffee and sandwich shop in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building. Known on Capitol Hill simply as "Cups," the shop -- a rickety 20-second train ride away from the elevator to the Senate floor -- is always swarmed with lobbyists, staffers and the occasional senator.

If customers flash an American Express card to buy a banana, Chung waves them off: "Just take the banana. Don't give me the card."

Chung has run Cups for about a decade and says that plastic has allowed him to better serve a hurried and harried clientele. But Chung is still routinely frustrated with the card networks -- Visa, MasterCard and American Express -- that dictate the fees storeowners like himself must pay to process credit and debit card transactions. Why charge for a banana when card fees make it a losing proposition?

Fees are annoying, Chung says, but not debilitating. "They're just like a phone company," he says. "Delivery surcharge. Paper charge. Equipment charge." There's an additional fee for using cards from banks outside his contract, but Chung says he has no way of knowing until he's gotten his bill how much of that pricier plastic has been swiped.

The fees Chung pays are a tiny fraction of Wall Street's swipe fee windfall; banks take in a combined $48 billion a year from these "interchange" fees on debit and credit cards, according to analysts at The Nilson Report. That money comes out of the pockets of consumers as well as merchants, as stores pass on whatever costs they can to their customers.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Spokane family's service dog finds bag of mysterious substance in yard

    Spokane family's service dog finds bag of mysterious substance in yard

    Sunday, October 22 2017 8:48 PM EDT2017-10-23 00:48:47 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - One Spokane family has a message for the community: “Check your yards.” That’s because on Saturday morning, they discovered something pretty disturbing in their backyard. This happened near Chief Garry Park.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - One Spokane family has a message for the community: “Check your yards.” That’s because on Saturday morning, they discovered something pretty disturbing in their backyard. This happened near Chief Garry Park.

    >>
  • Orlando couple shocked to find 63 lbs of marijuana included in Amazon order

    Orlando couple shocked to find 63 lbs of marijuana included in Amazon order

    Sunday, October 22 2017 2:49 PM EDT2017-10-22 18:49:19 GMT

    ORLANDO, Fla. - When a couple in Orlando, Florida, needed some storage bins they headed to Amazon to make the purchase, but as soon as the bins showed up at their doorstep, they knew something was off. When the couple opened the boxes, they found 63 lbs. of marijuana inside the bins. Orlando Police were called. They seized the drugs and launched an investigation. 

    >>

    ORLANDO, Fla. - When a couple in Orlando, Florida, needed some storage bins they headed to Amazon to make the purchase, but as soon as the bins showed up at their doorstep, they knew something was off. When the couple opened the boxes, they found 63 lbs. of marijuana inside the bins. Orlando Police were called. They seized the drugs and launched an investigation. 

    >>
  • Child's body found near missing 3-year-old Texas girl's home

    Child's body found near missing 3-year-old Texas girl's home

    Sunday, October 22 2017 6:06 PM EDT2017-10-22 22:06:08 GMT

    RICHARDSON, Texas (AP) - Police in a Dallas suburb say they've found the body of a small child not far from the home of a 3-year-old girl who's been missing since earlier this month. Richardson police say the child's body was discovered in a culvert as authorities using dogs searched for Sherin Mathews on Sunday morning.

    >>

    RICHARDSON, Texas (AP) - Police in a Dallas suburb say they've found the body of a small child not far from the home of a 3-year-old girl who's been missing since earlier this month. Richardson police say the child's body was discovered in a culvert as authorities using dogs searched for Sherin Mathews on Sunday morning.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/