Credit and Debit Cards: Federal Entities Are Taking Actions to Limit Their Interchange Fees, but Additional Revenue Collection Cost Savings May Exist

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Federal entities--agencies, corporations, and others--are growing users of credit and debit cards, as both "merchants" (receiving payments) and purchasers. Merchants accepting cards incur fees--called merchant discount fees--paid to banks to process the transactions. For Visa and MasterCard transactions, a large portion of these fees-- referred to as interchange--goes to the card-issuing banks. Some countries have acted to limit these fees. GAO was asked to examine (1) the benefits and costs associated with federal entities' acceptance of cards, (2) the effects of other countries' actions to limit ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. May 15, 2008.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Federal entities--agencies, corporations, and others--are growing users of credit and debit cards, as both "merchants" (receiving payments) and purchasers. Merchants accepting cards incur fees--called merchant discount fees--paid to banks to process the transactions. For Visa and MasterCard transactions, a large portion of these fees-- referred to as interchange--goes to the card-issuing banks. Some countries have acted to limit these fees. GAO was asked to examine (1) the benefits and costs associated with federal entities' acceptance of cards, (2) the effects of other countries' actions to limit interchange fees, and (3) the impact on federal entities of using cards to make purchases. Among other things, GAO analyzed fee data and information on the impact of accepting and using cards from the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the General Services Administration, reviewed literature, and interviewed officials of major card companies and three foreign governments."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 15, 2008

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Credit and Debit Cards: Federal Entities Are Taking Actions to Limit Their Interchange Fees, but Additional Revenue Collection Cost Savings May Exist, report, May 15, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299398/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.