Credit unions and small banks may charge new processing fees to recoup revenue declines

Despite statements from the federal government to the contrary, community banks and credit unions are reporting lower debit card processing revenue due to financial reform laws. Consequently, many organization may be looking to impose additional fees on customers to make up for the losses, according to an article in The Washington Post.

"The fees that the credit card processors pass on as revenue to banks like ours have definitely gotten smaller," Denise Stokes, senior vice president of Sandy Spring Bank in Olney, Maryland, told The Post. "Those companies took a hit when revenue dropped for the large banks, so they passed some of that loss on to us in the form of lower rates on processing fees. Our loss hasn't been huge, not as high as what the large banks have been hit with, but still, it's been significant."

However, as the news source points out, the Federal Trade Commission and the Government Accountability Office issued reports recently that suggest small banks and credit unions were protected by a provision that exempted them from reducing their card processing fees, unlike their larger brethren.

The real danger here is that if revenues are declining for banks and other financial institutions – even marginally – credit card processing fees could go up for both the consumer and small businesses that accept cards as payment.

In order to avoid a negative impact on a business' bottom line, they must find ways to counteract fluctuations in these fees. By using credit card processing software that comes with a one-time fee and free support without any hidden charges, entrepreneurs can offer their customers flexible pricing to offset these changes.

Particularly advantageous are software systems that allow businesses the freedom to choose any payment processor they desire.

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