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Posted: Jan 10, 2019
Categories: Debit Cards, EMV, Consulting
Comments: 0
Author: Lou Grilli

The Fed released its latest update on debit card interchange, and it showed very subtle but very telling trends for financial institutions with less than $10 billion in assets – a category called “exempt”, which includes all the credit unions in the U.S. except the top 7. While the lines of the graph (found here) look relatively horizontal, two takeaways are worth noting.

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Posted: Oct 3, 2018
Comments: 0
Author: Lou Grilli

The stakes are high - $90 billion in fees paid collectively by merchants each year, according to Bloomberg. The proposed class action settlement amount is record-breaking - $6.2 billion, the most significant dollar amount ever, to be paid to 12 million merchants who do not opt-out of the settlement.

What does this mean for the future of interchange fees? It’s still murky, at best.

A lawsuit that was being argued since 2005 was finally settled on September 18, 2018, some 13 years later. The class action was initially filed by the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, and the National Association of Convenience Stores, collectively representing about 12 million merchants in the U.S. It named Visa, Mastercard, and several large issuers, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. as Defendants. The suit accuses the defendants of conspiring to fix interchange fees that businesses pay to process credit and debit cards. A previous settlement had been reached in 2012 but was thrown out by the courts. This time around, the settlement, which still needs to be approved by the courts, leaves open several unanswered issues.

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Posted: Mar 21, 2018
Comments: 0

Old Habits are Hard to Break.

Spring Break 2018 is here, and travelling is the number one way to spend the week off. Travelling to international destinations is a popular spring break activity. And according to a recent Visa travel study, so is spending cash while on vacation. Why do most travelers prefer using cash when travelling internationally? What can credit unions do to change their members’ habits to get them to use cards instead?

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Posted: Feb 27, 2018
Categories: Debit Cards
Comments: 0
Author: Lou Grilli

If decoupled debit continues to gain acceptance among merchants, it will have an impact on issuers' card revenues.

[Editor's Note: This article was previously published in CU Insight, and has been modified.]

A few merchants have found that decoupled debit cards have helped to reduce the cost of payments acceptance without inconveniencing shoppers. This solution offers a significantly cheaper alternative for the merchant since payment bypasses the traditional payment rails, and instead uses ACH (Automated Clearing House) for payment from any of the shopper’s bank accounts. Whereas a merchant would typically pay its processor a 3% fee for the cost of processing a bank’s card, the fee to a third-party provider to handle the ACH is 0.8% and is capped at $5, and larger merchants can get even lower rates.

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Posted: Feb 21, 2018
Comments: 0
Author: Lou Grilli

Use of debit continues to grow as consumers shift their cash and check spend to the convenience of plastic. According to the Fed, the number of debit payments increased from 56.5 billion in 2012 to 69.5 billion in 2015, the largest increase in the number of payments among the payment types. More recently, and more relevantly, Trellance credit unions saw their Visa Signature Debit transactions grow year over year in January 2018 by 8.83%. Yet at the same time, credit unions are seeing a decline in average debit interchange. So, what is going on?

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