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GBNorman

Possible Problem For Amtrak Guest Rewards Cardholders

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https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.wsj.com/amp/articles/shoppers-love-rewards-credit-cards-retailers-hate-them-1537867801

 

I can't be sure if the Paywall Police are on patrol at present, but the Google AMP sometimes lets one "peek through the knothole".

 

The Wall Street Journal article does not mention any particular reward program, but the message is clear. Some merchants are seeking relief from the high merchant fees that accompany "lush" reward cards, and are suggesting they may choose to decline acceptance of such. I have no idea to what extent Guest Rewards racks up on any possible "hit list".

 

Otherwise "we report, you decide".

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Please do not include links to websites such as Wall Street Journal that require you to subscribe before reading the article. I was only able to read the teasing first lines before I go to the "to read this article" please subscribe or sign in.

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Here is a link to a publicly available summary:

 

https://thepointsguy.com/news/retailers-want-to-reject-rewards-cards/

 

That said, I don't see this happening. Stores can complain all they want, but if they want me to shop there, they can accept the credit cards in my wallet.

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Likewise. They are most welcome to lose my business.

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It seems as though it would be hugely problematic and a logistical nightmare for stores to accept *certain* Mastercards (for example) but not others.

 

I mean, Costco only takes Visa, but they accept ALL Visas, regardless of the rewards program linked to the card. Likewise, there are some discount chains (in my area) that don't accept ANY credit cards (but they do take debit). In that case, they have a clear policy that affects all cards in a predictable way. (And yes, I rarely shop there...but the stores seem to do good business otherwise.)

 

So yes, it does seem to me like most retailers are blowing smoke when they make such threats. That said, I'm sure we are all cognizant of the fact that credit card processing fees are built into the end-cost of the products we buy. I'm not sure it's a good tradeoff, but nevertheless it's the current system that our economy is built around.

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Unless the cashier actually handles and looks at the card, and remembers which cards are and are not accepted, I doubt that a store would accept a Capitol One MC and a United Airlines MC, but not an AGR MC. And if I go grocery shopping and put my chip card in the reader myself, will it accept my HiltonHonors AmEx, but not my Delta Airlines AmEx?

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Does United still have an MC? They seem to advertise only Visa.

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Here is a link to a publicly available summary: https://thepointsguy.com/news/retailers-want-to-reject-rewards-cards/ That said, I don't see this happening. Stores can complain all they want, but if they want me to shop there, they can accept the credit cards in my wallet.

&

Same here, If Joe store will not take my card (Money), I am sure Jack or Susan next door will.

&

Likewise. They are most welcome to lose my business.

 

What if they accepted your higher surcharge card and simply charged you a little more for the points kickback? I'd personally be okay with that. You'd get your extra points and NFC payment option and I'd get a lower price for using a simpler low fee debit card. Unfortunately the merchant agreements that currently allow businesses to process credit cards typically force retailers to charge the same price for all cards regardless of the impact to their bottom line.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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Likewise. I have no problem with paying a slightly higher price for the convenience. Indeed I have done so at gas stations that give a cash discount. It is just the unwillingness to provide that option that would cause me to go elsewhere.

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Concur for the most part.

 

Actual implementation (size of surcharge and availability of competitors) would drive purchase decisions.

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Smaller merchants are often simply cash onky. I am fine with that.

 

Nobody is gonna distinguish between two different Mastercards.

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Likewise. I have no problem with paying a slightly higher price for the convenience. Indeed I have done so at gas stations that give a cash discount. It is just the unwillingness to provide that option that would cause me to go elsewhere.

&

Concur for the most part. Actual implementation (size of surcharge and availability of competitors) would drive purchase decisions.

 

I believe that so long as the surcharge is roughly commiserate with the actual processing fee it's a push for everyone involved. I myself pay an extra 3% for my groceries as part of the concierge shopping service. I order whatever I want, select the time I want to receive it, and it's delivered directly to me. For me that additional convenience is easily worth the extra 3%, but I wouldn't expect everyone else to pay more if they're not using it themselves. There is a local liquor store chain that gives debit cards the same price as cash with a surcharge for credit cards of all types. I would personally consider that a reasonable and practical middle ground.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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Most of us recall seeing gasoline prices at your local station posted as $x.xx cash, $y.yy credit per gallon. That's because banks charge the business some percentage for every charge card transaction. Big customers like Walmart, maybe 1-2%. Your local auto repair shop, maybe 5%. I know firsthand that's been going on for well over 35 years as my small company was paying 5% (deduction from the total of all credit card slips 'deposited' that day at my bank). My ex-wife, a bank officer, had a position at her bank where she was their negotiator with larger customers when they set up accounts.

 

Then came the 'rewards' cards. In addition to the percentage taken by the bank as 'processing fees', NOW the bank offers 'cash back' using their cards, and vendors like an United Airlines or Amtrak give some percentage return when using their cards. Does anyone think for one minute the money/cost of 3% or whatever cash back/miles/points comes 'out of thin air'? Of course not! SOMEBODY has to pay that added 3%! It's a 'chess match' between consumers, businesses and credit card issuers...WHO will pay not only the actual rewards value, but the added labor/business expense required to administer the program?

 

Like the gas stations charging a higher price for credit and losing business as a result, the retailers are looking to get out from under the now 6% 'bank charge' for each credit card handled and are finally starting to scream. For what it's worth, I've started seeing a handful of 'cash/credit' prices popping up at gas stations again. Especially the independent gas station owners/franchisees who don't have the benefit of Walmart-sized banking power are getting squeezed hard. Something's gotta give!

 

So, will businesses simply increase prices a couple percentage points to offset the 'losses' associated with higher credit card handling fees? Will we start seeing separate prices for cash/debit vs credit appearing more and more often? I suspect both will happen.

 

By the way...has anyone noticed that charitable organization sponsored cards have disappeared? The 2-3% the credit card company was paying them for each transaction with that card got lost by the wayside due to the small numbers of card holders with cards such as Humane Society or National Wildlife Organization. Certainly the negotiations between retailers and banks have gotten much more complex in the past 10 years or so because of various 'rewards' on each card. Or, maybe the no-annual-fee credit cards will disappear and the annual-fee cards have fees increased and/or based on amount of charges...like the fuel surtax trucking companies have been charging for the past 20 years or so...

 

And as anyone who has sold stuff on Ebay for a good number of years will attest, the percentage 'hits' by ebay and Paypal have done nothing but go UP, UP, UP over the years. I am now forced to 'eat' ebays' 10% take, Paypals' 2-3% take, and pick up the tab for shipping!!! (shipping charges also get a 10% hit by ebay) Selling anything for less than $10 loses money, especially if I consider myself 'paid' at $10/hr!

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I have seen some business that (while not stating they charge more for using credit cards) have signs that say something like

A 5% discount is offered for using cash!

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I have seen some business that (while not stating they charge more for using credit cards) have signs that say something like

A 5% discount is offered for using cash!

 

 

In restaurants in an primarily ethnic neighborhood (i.e. Chinatowns), you will usually see 10 - 15% discount for using cash. This is because not only the CC fees but the sales tax is also eliminated as well, in exchange of not giving out the receipt. Of course it is not being posted, but the staff will tell you when you sit down.

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I have seen some business that (while not stating they charge more for using credit cards) have signs that say something like

A 5% discount is offered for using cash!

 

 

In restaurants in an primarily ethnic neighborhood (i.e. Chinatowns), you will usually see 10 - 15% discount for using cash. This is because not only the CC fees but the sales tax is also eliminated as well, in exchange of not giving out the receipt. Of course it is not being posted, but the staff will tell you when you sit down.

 

In the case of a small businesses with recently established merchant accounts the combination of all the various processing fees can reach 10% or more for smaller purchases using a top tier status card with aggressive cost recovery.

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I just received a new BoA AGR MC with the new style of lettering. The associated letter said something about the previous card possibly having been compromised though there has been nothing fraudulent detected on it so far. There was an attempt by someone to log into the BoA web account associated with the card which was blocked by two factor authentication. Of course, changing the card won’t fix that.

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I just read a couple of posts on another board (TO). Two persons said that their AGR Points accounts had been compromised, once where someone was trying to use their account to buy Amtrak gift cards.

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My AGR account was not involved. It was the BoA AGR Credit Card account that was involved.

Edited by jis

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My AGR account was not involved. It was the BoA AGR Credit Card account that was involved.

I realize that this thread was originally about the AGR CC, but I thought that l would add this as more info. Maybe I should start a new topic.

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My AGR account was not involved. It was the BoA AGR Credit Card account that was involved.

I realize that this thread was originally about the AGR CC, but I thought that l would add this as more info. Maybe I should start a new topic.

Or a mod could move it?

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