Enumclaw Music has a message for Plateau shoppers: if you want to help local businesses, stop using your credit card.
To that effect, the music store has started a new reward program for folks who buy with cash by returning 2.5 percent of that purchase back to the customer.
“It’s a rebate, but we’re really calling it a reward, because it is rewarding them for acting fiscally responsible,” said owner David Bozich. “We want to reward people for keeping money locally, instead of sending it off to the big banks and the credit card companies.”
The world of credit cards is vast and sprawling, but in general, every time customers use a credit card, businesses have to pay a fee. For MasterCard, Visa, and Discover, that fee can be anywhere between 1.43 percent to 2.6 percent of the total purchase, according to Value Penguin; American Express’ fees are even higher, ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 percent (this explains why some businesses choose to not accept American Express credit cards).
And that’s not all — businesses likely also have to sign up with what’s known as a merchant services provider in order to even accept a credit card for payment, and those providers have fees of their own, most often a flat fee and a percentage of the purchase.
For businesses like Enumclaw Music, these fees add up quickly; Bozich said he spends hundreds of dollars a month on just credit card-related fees.
“That’s a part-time employee,” he said. “This is the reason why the big banks are getting so rich.”
Banks mostly make their money through credit card interest — for example, American Express made about $8.6 billion in 2019, while Chase Bank mad $51.6 billion through interest, according to Value Penguin.
But banks also make billions through credit card fees paid by businesses; American Express saw $4 billion roll into its coffers through those fees, and Chase Bank $20.3 billion.
Individually, this breaks down to the average American Express card user earning the bank about $60.43 annually through fees paid by businesses, according to 2017 data; Chase Bank account holders, $21.13.
“Think about it — how much money do you spend on a credit card a month? $2,000? $3,000 a month?” Bozich continued. “How much money of that is paid by the people you are buying from, and they are giving that money directly to the bank… that money is pure profit to them.”
Bozich invited anyone that has questions about the program, or how businesses deal with credit card payments, to visit him at his store at 1515 Cole St.