NACS President and CEO Hank Armour urged convenience and petroleum retailers to “light a grassroots fire around the country” by encouraging their customers to sign petitions against credit card interchange fees, which cost the typical American household $427 per year.
“Between now and the second week of January we want every convenience store in the U.S. to run an interchange fee petition drive,” said Armour as he announced campaign during the NACS Show. More than 22,000 attendees are expected at the annual NACS Show, which runs through Friday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Armour cited the success of recent petition campaigns conducted by both 7-Eleven and Circle K. In September, 7-Eleven delivered a record 1.66 million customer signatures to Congress-the largest number of signatures collected for a public policy issue on record. Circle K collected an additional 400,000-plus customer signatures.
“Their petition campaigns gathered millions of signatures asking Congress to fix what is clearly a broken system. Consumers are now weighing in on our side of this issue,” Armour said. “Let’s overwhelm Congress with millions and millions of signatures demanding action to fix the broken credit card system.”
In 2008 alone, Americans paid over $48 billion in credit card interchange fees. These fees, which account for almost $2 of every $100 American consumers spend when using a credit card, are non-negotiable and set in secret by the credit card companies and their member banks.
“We have three critical bills in play in Congress – two in the House and one in the Senate – that if passed would create an environment where competitive interchange rates can be fairly negotiated,” said Armour.
“With that tremendous consumer support, combined with the well-drafted legislation, we believe that 2010 will be the year we achieve interchange reform,” Armour told attendees to thunderous applause. “But it’s not going to happen without your committed support,” he stressed.
NACS retailer members who want to run a petition drive can sign up by visiting the NACS Center at the NACS Show, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The materials are available free of charge to NACS members.