Welch and Vermont Country Store owner urge reform of credit card fees

first_imgCongressman Peter Welch and Vermont country store owner Kathy Miller urged the House Committee on Financial Services Thursday to crack down on unfair credit card swipe fees paid by small businesses. At a hearing to debate Welch’s Credit Card Interchange Fees Act (HR 2382), Welch and Miller asked the committee to consider the plight of small retailers forced to pay close to two percent of every purchase in swipe fees to credit card companies and big banks. Miller, who owns the Elmore Store in Elmore, Vermont, said the unfair and abusive practices mean she and her husband Warren often lose money on small purchases.Welch’s legislation would allow merchants to offer discounts for cash payments and set a minimum for credit card purchases, and it would prevent card companies from charging merchants more for rewards card transactions. The bill would increase transparency by requiring card companies to disclose the terms of their agreements to merchants and consumers, and it would increase oversight by empowering the Federal Trade Commission to determine whether any practices are unfair or anti-competitive.“Credit card companies and big banks are finding more and more ways to squeeze small retailers, for whom the profit on an individual sale can be completely canceled out by the cost of the burdensome interchange fee,” Welch told the committee. “What is at issue here is a question of basic fairness and reasonable regulation of credit card and large bank practices.”Miller, a fifth generation Vermonter who has owned the Elmore Store for 26 years, said, “We have streamlined our business to reduce costs as best we can. Maintenance doesn’t get done as it should, less money goes out in payroll, but we just can’t keep absorbing these fees and survive in these tough economic times. If interchange swipe fees were fair and reasonable, Warren and I would have more money to invest back into our business.”The amount of money big banks collect in interchange fees has tripled from 2001 to 2008, costing American consumers $36 billion a year. The average family pays $300 a year in fees. Only 13 percent of those fees go toward processing and transaction costs, while 44 percent goes to subsidizing rewards programs.Miller told the committee she loses money when customers pay for a pack of gum with a credit card and she makes only two cents when a customer buys a bag of chips.“I would like to ask you on your next ride home to look and see how many vacant store fronts there are in your small downtowns. Just this winter alone, six stores closed within a 50 mile radius of us,” she told the committee. “Some days I feel like I should just turn in my keys – but too many people count on us. Elmore is a town of 850 people. We are the hub of the community. When someone needs something, who do you call? ‘Mom’ or ‘Pop’ at the Elmore Store. We are just trying to keep our doors open.” # # #last_img read more

Watching the Olympics

first_imgI will be watching the Olympics like a lot of you.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all we had to worry about was how good our American athletes would do?  Like everything else happening on a world stage, we have to worry whether some zealot is lying in wait to make a statement for his/her cause.  I guess the big push today is to involve women.  They seem to be able to infiltrate areas today that their male counterparts cannot.  You can be sure the Russian government will do everything they can to make the Olympic venues safe, but the real worry are those people coming to this area to view the games.  Most people who spend this kind of money want to experience more than the games themselves.  This means traveling outside the heavily guarded venues.  I’m sure those who go will say it was the thrill of a lifetime, but I am going to get my thrill in my favorite chair in front of my wide-screen TV.  If you go to Sochi, send me a post card!last_img read more

Wellington Rec Rap: Aug. 26 – Sept. 9, 2013

first_imgSubmitted to Sumner Newscow — The Wellington Rec Rap for August 26 – September 9, 2013: Coming up soon:South Central Youth Volleyball League for 3rd/4th and 5th/6th grades. Early Bird Registration is $35 thru August 30th.  Registration after 8/30 is $45. This is a traveling league that plays games days on Saturdays in September-October. Exact times/dates to be determined by number of participants. Free Trial Fitness Classes will be held at the WRC from September 9th-21st. Includes Zumba Fitness 1 & 2, Zumba Tone, Sunrise & Gentle Yoga, and Hi/Lo Power Mix. See a page 1 of a Fall brochure to class times and days. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Here is what is happening in the next two weeks…Kids Club for kids Kindergarten, (Kind. may attend if accompanied by an older sibling) -5th grade starts next Tuesday, Sept. 4th at the Rec Center. It is held from 3:30-5 pm each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday when school is in session. WRC Fall Program Guides will be available soon online at wellingtonrec.com and area businesses and schools. Saturday, September 7th:Youth Flag Football on Saturdays, starting 9/7 @ WMS practice field/track This league provides the perfect alternative for kids too young or not quite ready to play tackle football. There will be two divisions of play; for 6-8 year olds and 9-12 year olds.  Early Bird Registration is $30 thru 9/4.  Registration after 9/4 is $40.It’s A Girl Thing for girls, Kind.-6th grade and their moms/caregivers, from 2-3:30 pm @ the WRC on 9/7. Local hair stylists will demonstrate how Moms can style their daughters’ hair. Participants will take away great styling tips and hair products! Sponsored by Debbie Murphy and hair stylists Jessica Luthi and Sarah Vargas-Smith. Early Bird Registration thru August 30th is $5 a couple and $5 for each addtional person.  After 8/30 registration is $10 a couple.Back to School Bash for Middle Schoolers, Saturday, September 7 from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Wellington Recreation Commission. WRC office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information please call is 620-326-3323. GoJu-Ryu Karate‘s Fall sessions will start September 3rd. Session 1 takes place on Tuesdays and Saturdays, Sept. 3rd-28th.last_img read more