Source: Heartland Payment Systems
Heartland Payment Systems (NYSE: HPY), one of the nation's largest payments processors, has guaranteed that it will pass the debit swipe fee cost savings from the Durbin Amendment directly to its merchants.
Founder of The Merchant Bill of Rights and a widely recognized advocate for fair credit and debit card processing practices, Heartland is also launching its Durbin Dollars campaign to educate merchants about the rate changes and their cost savings potential so they do not fall victim to processors looking to profit at their expense. Producing resources like an educational video, a Durbin Dollars website, tip sheets and webinars, and partnering with industry trade associations, Heartland is providing merchants the tools they need to protect their bottom lines.
"It's easy for a processor to say it will pass the savings along to its merchants, but the reality is, many won't. As a result, unfortunately many merchants will miss out on some or all of Durbin's financial benefits, ultimately costing them thousands of dollars."
The Durbin Amendment, part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, caps debit card interchange rates for issuing banks with more than $10 billion in assets at 21 cents per transaction, plus one cent for issuers with an effective fraud prevention system, plus 0.05 percent of the volume of transaction — a significant reduction from the average of 44 cents that merchants currently pay per debit card purchase at the pre-Durbin rates. According to the National Retail Federation, swipe fees cost merchants and their customers nearly $50 billion a year, triple the $16 billion a year collected in 2001.
Although this legislation was designed to provide business owners relief from card processing costs, some processors have publicly announced that they will keep the funds to bolster their own profits. The industry encountered a similar situation in 2003 with the Wal-Mart settlement that lowered debit interchange rates by approximately one-third. Rather than pass the savings through to their merchants, many processors kept the savings to boost their own profits.
By highlighting Durbin Dollar savings on processing statements, Heartland merchants caccan see clearly exactly how the interchange rate reductions are impacting their bottom lines and feel confident that they are receiving the full benefit of the reform.
"Business owners work hard for every penny they earn, and Heartland is helping them keep more of their money," said Bob Baldwin, president at Heartland. "It's easy for a processor to say it will pass the savings along to its merchants, but the reality is, many won't. As a result, unfortunately many merchants will miss out on some or all of Durbin's financial benefits, ultimately costing them thousands of dollars."
Durbin Dollars can mean significant savings for businesses. While actual savings will vary depending on the business type and size, as well as the volume of debit card transactions they handle, Heartland's average merchant will save more than $1,000 in the first year alone.
Heartland offers business owners the following tips to ensure they maximize their savings:
1. Know how the legislation affects you. Take the time to fully understand the effects of the legislation so you know how the changes benefit merchants like you. Check out available resources online, such as those offered at GetYourDurbinDollars.com.
2. Ask your processor to put its guarantee on paper. Get written confirmation from your processor that it will pass 100 percent of the Durbin rate decrease directly to your checking account.
3. Verify that you are on interchange-plus pricing model. Interchange-plus is a simplified model that passes interchange fees directly to the merchant and charges a separate fee for processing charges, which can help you see if you are actually getting card brand fee reductions as the legislation intends.
4. Check the terms and conditions of your processing contract. Review your processing agreement as soon as possible to figure out how you can terminate your contract with your provider if you find you are not being credited with the full interchange rate reduction.