Priceless: Is MasterCard Now Killing Us
To those who called and left a message or who sent me a note, do not worry. I am fine. I did not BLOG for the last day and a half since I took a brief mini-holiday trip out of town.
Interestingly, when I was listening to the news in the car from WWJ Detroit, there was a story in which the reporter suggested to Americans to stay home because of the stronger Canadian dollar. In particular, she mentioned that the exchange rate at the Casino was no longer 40% so money would go more quickly than before (I guess that means why cross the border too when you can lose at home!) She did tell Canadians to come over to shop at least.
Sounds like the "PACE" days may be coming back. You remember that store on 14 mile with many of the cars in the lot being from Canada on the week-ends.
Both ways across the border, around 8:40 AM going over and 3:30 PM coming back, there was hardly any traffic or line-ups. If that is due to terrific traffic management, great but if it is due to reduced traffic then we have serious problems in a border city like Windsor.
And to top it off, I saw this story out of WGRZ TV Buffalo. If the higher dollar, no smoking bylaw, supposed border chaos, SARS, terrorism and whatever won't hurt our economy, now MasterCard will.
Higher Cross-Border Costs
Posted by: Mike Igoe, Reporter
When she's not working Tammy Boehm of Lackawanna frequently makes trips across the border to Canada. The Fort Erie slots is one of her favorite stops.
Tammy says she keeps careful track of her transactions. So she was surprised to find some charges on her MasterCard statement she couldn't account for.
Tammy Boehm, Lackawanna Resident:"There were extra fees being taken out of any kind of withdrawal I did. Found out through the bank that MasterCard effective April 7 started charging assessments on cross border transactions.
MasterCard confirms it to 2 On Your Side with this information: Effective April 7 there will be an assessment on all cross-border transactions on all MasterCard credit or debit cards.MasterCard will calculate the assessment by multiplying the transaction amount for each cross-border transaction by a specified rate announced in each region's Finance Bulletin.
For Western New Yorkers the chrarge will be less than 1% per transaction. Still Tammy is troubled.
Tammy Boehm: "Over time that adds up. And that's extra money out of our pocket just for using our bank card in a different country."
Peace Bridge Duty Free in Fort Erie is already getting negative feedback on the new charges from its customers.
Steve Richardson, Peace Bridge Duty Free:"They tack this onto the other fees. And they create this environment that it's gonna cost more to go to Canada. And it's not a good thing for us."
Some of those shoppers have a plan:
Sherman Wilkes, Shopper From U.S.: "I won't use it in Canada. I'm not gonna pay the extra money."
Jody Wolfanger, Shopper from the U.S.: "I'll definitely use cash more."
Four other MasterCard customers we spoke with tell us they'll probably cut back on their card use in Canada to limit those fees.