Bookstore to charge higher credit card fees

U students are increasingly paying more for textbooks and sweatshirts when using credit cards at the U Bookstore.

On April 1, banks raised interchange fees for goods purchased by students with debit and credit cards at National Association of College Stores.

“It’s too high; there is starting to be a little backlash in retail,” said Earl Clegg, director of the U Bookstore, which is a member of NACS. “We’re very concerned.”

According to Clegg, most students use credit cards to buy books, supplies and items with the U logo. This summer, bookstore customers will make 50 percent of purchases with credit cards, and the number could be as high as 80 percent in the fall.

Banks raised the fees to meet higher rates imposed by the Federal Reserve Board. The fees are expected to continue rising.

Clegg said the bookstore does not support the fee raise and emphasized that the U’s rate is still lower than the national average of 2.9 percent.

At the U, the rate is around 2 percent of the purchase, or 2 cents per dollar in addition to sales tax.

“It sucks,” said Sean Santek, a sophomore in parks, recreation and tourism. “I’m broke as it is.”

Santek said he already tries to avoid the high prices at the bookstore and only goes there to buy supplies.

Few students know about the rate hike and Clegg doesn’t anticipate a lot of protest because card users are used to paying fees.

“I’m not very concerned about it,” said Levi Pace, a first-year graduate student in economics. “I’m not much of an activist.”

Students can avoid the fee by paying with cash or check at the bookstore.

According to Clegg, the bookstore will also help students save by accepting debit cards starting Fall Semester, which have lower fees than credit cards.

If they must use credit cards at the bookstore, students should be aware that MasterCard and Visa have the highest rates.

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