Chip card access puts service fees on credit card use at local businesses

Published: Sep. 7, 2016 at 11:24 PM EDT
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(9/7/16) - 'Chip' cards are all about keeping your credit card information safe, but as more local businesses start taking them we all could be paying a little bit more.

The sign on the door at Foutch's says it all. Use your credit or debit card...and be ready to pay an extra 3.75 percent (meaning a $10 bill would become $10.39).

Owner Roger Foutch says it all started because of the need to accommodate credit and debit cards with security chips.

"All the merchants are supposed to become compatible sometime in October. If you're not compatible you're responsible for any fraudlent charges on a customer's credit card," he said. "To convert my old system into a chip reader, you're talking thousands in software."

In May, Foutch says he began working with a company out of Davison called Zero Fee Solutions, which helped him make the switch to chip readers.

"They came along, they furnished all the equipment and everything else. There's a small service fee attached to each (customer) bill," said Foutch.

Zero Fee Solutions' system swaps out credit card processing fees that businesses normally pay...for fees placed on the customer instead. Foutch says the money-saving measure is picking up steam with businesses all over Genesee County and beyond, including PD's Pub in Grand Blanc Township.

"I guarantee you, I'll save this year $19,000 that'll go to PD's Pub bottom line with this system," said owner Scott Parker

But are customers willing to pay? Those ABC12 talked to were split, but Foutch says anyone who doesn't want a fee...can always pay cash.

"My local regular customers always come back and we haven't increased our prices," he said.

And price increases tend to happen when costs go up.

"You either have to raise prices or cut expenses and to me this was a no-brainer," said Foutch.