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posted: 2/13/2013 5:00 AM

'Checkout fee' will hurt Illinois

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Everyday commerce in Illinois as we know it today will soon be history. A settlement, announced back in July, happened when Visa, MasterCard and nine other major banks agreed to "fix" credit card processing fees with merchants. This fee will add 1 to 4 percent to the purchase cost, and it's known as a checkout fee. This recent settlement will cost merchants the checkout fee when customers use credit cards.

Small businesses will have to pass that cost onto the consumers who use credit cards. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The consumers and small businesses of Illinois will be gouged by banks.

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The politicians in Illinois are to blame. This credit card fee is illegal in 10 states, but the remaining 40 states will charge the new "checkout" fee. It is likely that consumers paying for large-ticket items will go to those other 10 states to make purchases -- and Illinois will lose out on the sales tax as well.

Illinois state politicians can control the gouging tactics by banks: for example, MB Financial currently charges a debit card fee for debit card transactions, and Chase charges a withdrawal fee for withdrawing cash from savings accounts performed more than four times in one month. In the very near future I believe all banks will be charging the 'checkout fee' to customers for using debit cards or credit cards.

Politicians need to step in and do their job. When consumers purchase from other states to avoid the 3 to 4 percent fee on large purchases, maybe then the politicians will wake up.

Sean Herling

Mount Prospect

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