Skip navigation
TV-set.gif Steven Puetzer/The Image Bank/Getty Images Plus
The commercial is part of a seven-figure advertising campaign.

New TV ad from convenience store association blasts bank card fees

The latest NACS commercial pushes for competitive processing

The National Association for Convenience Stores (NACS) is launching a third television commercial in a drive to require payments card processors Visa and MasterCard to allow additional networks to process bank card transactions.

The 30-second holiday-themed ad shows a Christmas tree before a roaring fireplace with stocking held along the mantel, while an announcer asks, “What would the holidays be like if credit card fees were fair? With the money saved on every swipe, you could get a winter coat for the kids, headphones for your best friend, a soccer ball for your niece.”

“Unfortunately, credit card companies are still stuffing our stockings with unfair hidden swipe fees costing families nearly $1,000 a year,” the ad continues, as the Christmas tree crashes to the floor under the weight of swipe fees on cards in a stocking, and the narrator calls on viewers to tell Congress to pass the Credit Card Competition Act. “It takes free market competition to have fair fees – and happier holidays,” the announcer said.

The NACS is a member of the Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC), a group of retailers, supermarkets, restaurants, drug stores, convenience stores, gas stations, online merchants, and other businesses that the organization said is focused on reforming the U.S. payments system to make it more transparent and competitive. The commercial is part of a seven-figure advertising campaign that has included an ad attacking Visa’s sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup while refusing to allow competition over swipe fees, and a commercial that claims a lack of competition enables and Visa and MasterCard to charge whatever they want.

“At a time when Americans are suffering under the effects of inflation, they are paying even more because of hidden swipe fees levied by Visa, Mastercard and the Wall Street megabanks that issue the majority of credit cards,” Doug Kantor, MPC executive committee member and NACS general counsel, said in a statement.

“U.S. swipe fees are the highest in the industrialized world and drive-up prices paid by American consumers,” he said. “The impact is particularly harmful during the holidays, when many families are stretching their dollars and these fees amount to an unfair private tax on every present and decoration they buy.”

The Credit Card Competition Act, sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, and pending in Congress, would allow at least two unaffiliated networks to process credit card transactions that carry the Visa or MasterCard brand, such as American Express, Discover, NYCE, Star and Shazam. It excludes networks that foreign governments support.

The MPC in November sent two letters to lawmakers urging support for the bipartisan legislation. The letters were signed by 1,802 merchants and 236 state and national trade associations representing merchants, respectively. Both letters noted that big banks and card networks like Visa and Mastercard charge merchants more than 2% of the customer’s total bill for each credit card purchase and that transaction fees have more than doubled over the past decade, including 25% last year to a record $137.8 billion.

The Electronic Payments Coalition (EPC), a lobbyist group representing payment card networks, large banks and credit unions, has claimed that allowing unaffiliated networks to process transactions would add billions of dollars to the bottom lines of mega-retailers while eliminating almost all the funding that goes towards popular credit cards rewards programs, weakening cybersecurity protection and reducing access to credit.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.