In the face of the continuous increase in the operating cost of petrol stations, there are retailers considering several options, among which, Limit shipping through debit or credit cards, to avoid paying what they consider a high bank processing cost per transactionAccording to industry representatives he consulted speaker.
At least one gas station has already begun to reduce payment methods. is a station located on Kennedy Avenue, in San Juan, Only cash, American Express, Discover and branded payment applications are accepted.
“Due to rising bank fee costs and a continuous increase in fuel prices, we find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of cutting off our payment methods.”read on all pumps. “Until further notice, we will not accept any additional credit and/or debit cards, including ATH. Sorry for the inconvenience.”inform the customer.
In the near future, other gas stations may apply the same restrictions.
Carlos CrespoChairman of the Petrol Stations Committee at the United Center for Retailers (CUD), He stressed that more gas stations will join this operational adjustment due to the doubling of the increase in monthly spending.
“One of them has already started, I have already heard many who are also planning to do the same because the money is going away. They are used to paying $1500 a month for card service, for example, and they are already paying $3,000 or $4000, which is a difference in money that can Use it to pay station rent,” Crespo said.
reported that from 1,150 operating fuel stations on the island, 60% of which are in critical condition, “Live from day to day, because there is no other way to live. So, whoever drops $40 will continue to drop $40, but they don’t have enough money to go to the ‘mini market’ (small stores) and buy.”
Luis Sepulvedaexecutive director of the Association of Retail Gasoline Dealers (ADG), said that 60% of the sales value at the stations is collected through debit and credit cardsWhile The remaining 40% is cash. He explained that banking institutions charge an important clause for every ATH transaction executed.
“60% of the products sold with the card are killing us, and the bank charges are brutal. Previously the biggest sale was for cash, but over time, the number of card sales has increased,” Sepulveda said.
Sepulveda confirmed it For every debit or credit transaction a profit of about 20 cents; The bank charges about 13 cents to the retailers Seven cents left for gas stations to cover operating expenses.
“Retailers are forced to limit their payment options. Credit cards usually have a high transaction cost. To try to prevent the bank from taking what the terminal profits are, the number of collection options is limited.”
The ADG director emphasized that this administrative measure – although it may cause a decrease in the number of customers – reduces the risk of economic losses and increases the profit margin of the terminal.
“It is very likely that sales will go down, but it is better that sales go down, than that the retailer sells and loses money. What is it worth that you sell 20,000 gallons, if you are going to lose $1,000? So, sell yourself 15,000 and you will make $50 or $100 Sepulveda explained that the intent was not to create a problem for the consumer.
According to the retailer, The increase in the number of transactions with ATMs and credit cards responds to the fact that consumers are not filling the tank and carry out more transactions per week.
Association of Banks react
however, Zoom AlvarezExecutive Vice President of the Association of Banks, confirmed that in theIn the past years, banking institutions did not increase fees for transactions made with a credit or debit card.
“Processing costs or banking costs have not gone up. Here we do not see a decision by commercial banks nor the costs of the various processors that have raised their prices. Companies have contracts, most of which depend on the percentage of their sales. Sometimes, the higher the transaction, the costs related to licensing the card may vary ‘ Alvarez insisted.
He repeated: “It is wrong to suggest that they are taking action because of the high banking costs, because the banking cost has remained the same.”
According to Alvarez, The operating cost of gas stations is increasing, while the profit of the retailer is constantas a result of a profit margin freeze order imposed by DACO.
“Now your profit is not relative, it is a fixed profit that has been regulated by DACO for a long time, which means the truck that cost you $30,000, you earned $15,000. Now, that costs you $55,000 and you continue to earn $15,000,” the executive specified.
Specifically, gas stations maintain that to keep stations running, profit must be 30 cents a gallon and not the 20 cents set by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO) through a earnings freeze order.
After a slight decrease in the price of gasoline at the pump last weekend, Crespo confirmed that the relief is temporary and is attributed to changes in supply and demand, as well as in the price of a barrel of crude oil, which fluctuated around $105 yesterday.
Perhaps, at that moment, there was more gasoline or more oil than usual. Therefore, you are making the sale; After that, the barrel price is traded cheaper on the stock market. This is a moment, as it goes down, and it goes up,” he said.
Retailers are also reported to be reducing their fuel purchases – by an average of 5,000 gallons – and reducing staff – to replace family members – and others have reduced service hours, among other measures to maintain operations.