Businessman responds to letter from mom, pop store owners about credit cards

New Orleans Museum of Art (New Orleans)
March 16, 2010
Frederic Adams
March 18, 2010

Dear Editor:

The Tri-Parish Times recently ran a letter in which a couple complained about what it cost their business to provide the convenience of debit and credit cards to their customers. Cheryl and Brian David could eliminate this cost to their business by simply not utilizing the electronic network provided to them by accepting debit and credit cards.

Evidence shows when a business accepts debit and credit cards, their sales and profits increase, they receive fast and secure payment on their funds, and minimize the risk of cash theft. Even the smallest of mom and pop businesses can transform overnight into a global, 24/7 operation if they accept electronic payments online. Some retailers, however, feel they shouldn’t have to pay for this service and want their customers to pay instead. That’s simply not fair.

Retailers have been lobbying Congress to pass a law that would force down the cost of what retailers pay for this service. They would have Washington dictate rather than the free market. If this occurs, Louisiana banks – the partial recipient of these “interchange fees” – will be forced to adjust to yet another mandate out of Washington on how to run their business, which will impact those small businesses like Cheryl and Brian. This is precisely what happened in Australia when regulators gave a sweetheart deal to their retailers there – at the expense of consumers. Moreover, there is no evidence that Australian retailers lowered prices at the register.

I understand all business, banks and retailers, are working to optimize their operations and better serve their customers. But asking Washington to solve every problem is not the answer.

Robert T. Taylor,

CEO of Louisiana Bankers Assoc.