O.C. businessman fights fees for Haiti donations (via OC Register)

From The Orange County Register.  posted by Jan Norman, small-business columnist


Mitch Goldstone of ScanMyPhotos.com in Irvine has led a successful effort to stop major credit card companies from charging their regular fees for charitable donations to Haitian relief, reports readingeagle.com

Goldstone is on the credit card companies’ radar because he is lead plaintiff in a multi-billion lawsuit over the fees the credit cards and banks charge for every transaction. “It’s the power of social media and Twitter,” he says. “Immediately after hurricane Katrina, I e-mailed MasterCard and Visa, seeking that they rescind the interchange credit card swipe fees. All I had was my blog (WayTooHigh.com).

Today,with Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/waytoohigh), it is instant and interactive.”Credit card
companies and banks make about $250 million a year in the fees on charitable donations made by credit card,
according to the Huffington Post.“However these credit cards are only waiving the fees for a little while and only on a handful of charities,” Goldstone says.

“Since most people contribute through their churches, synagogues and through thousands of other organizations, this means that the credit card giants are still profiting. And so many people are texting donations that appear on their phone bill, the card companies are charging fees to the phone companies for those.

Here’s the breakdown of the fee waivers announced by major credit card companies from American Banker:

American Express said it was waiving the processing fees for donations made to any nonprofit organizations listed on the USAID Website in support of Haiti relief – but only between Jan. 12 and the end of February

Visa said it would not apply interchange fees, through the end of February, to donations made to 11 charities contributing to the relief efforts. It will also donate revenues generated by contributions to these charities directly to the American Red Cross.

MasterCard said it would waive interchange fees on Haitian relief donations that are made using U.S. issued MasterCard cards to five charitable organizations.

Discover said it is waiving transaction fees on all credit card donations to the American Red Cross for an unspecified time.

Capital One guarantees that 100% of Haiti relief donations made with its card will go to the charities.
“Most consumers aren’t aware of these transaction fees,” Goldstone says.