Credit card convenience costs gas stations

July 8, 2008 5:32:49 PM PDT
Plenty of us do it every day ? we pick up the gas nozzle, select a grade and pull out the plastic credit or debit card. Charles Boison of Durham explains how easy debit cards can be. "Convenience I just like to use my credit card debit card pay at the pump and I'm gone," Boison said. But gas station owners don't want you to pay at the pump because they say it's costing them money. Bill Bordeauz, operator of a Shell Station in Bragtown says, "It's a great convenience for them but for us it's an expense because those credit card charges are higher than the profit on the gasoline."

The profit - roughly .5 cents a gallon - is far less than what they are paying in taxes and credit card transaction fees.

Local gas station owners say they have to pay credit card companies 3- to 4- percent every time you swipe your card. That translate to nearly $200,000 a year. Their main profit comes from attached automotive shops and inside store sales, both of which are down.

The North Carolina Petroleum and Convenience Markets say they are fighting to lower the fees - a savings they say could be passed onto the customer. Gary Harris with the NCPC explains, "Right now a bill in Congress gives retailers the ability to negotiate with credit card companies set a fee so as prices rise the fee is set doesn't."

But for customers like Charles Boison, speed and reward points are motivations for using credit instead of cash. "If you're going to get a discount of 3 percent just pay here and you're out." Even if it means hurting business.


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