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MUSKEGON, Mich. - WESCO Stores, an operator of 51 convenience stores/gas locations in Michigan, is combining its own branded debit card with a consumer loyalty program that automatically discounts gas prices at the pump.
WESCO recently completed an in-depth pilot at two of its locations utilizing a privately-issued debit card, and concluded that it could offer consumers relief from high gas prices while reducing the exorbitant costs of traditional credit and debit card acceptance, which is now the most common form of payment at the pump.
The program is a partnership with San Mateo, Calif.-based Debitman Card, Inc. Consumers who sign up for WESCO's debit card experience savings on gas purchases at any WESCO store, as well as the convenience of using the card at more than 200,000 merchant locations in the U.S. that participate in Debitman's Retailer's Network, including Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Barnes & Noble, and CVS.
"Credit card interchange fees are phenomenally high and adding to already high gasoline costs at the pump," said Rachelle Osborn, Wesco's IT director, in a statement. "We are always looking at ways to build value by offering quality while reducing cost, and Debitman was a perfect fit. Issuing our own debit card leverages the Debitman network to sharply reduce our processing fees, so we are able to turn those savings back to participating consumers with an automatic two-cents-per-gallon price reduction at the pump."
Osborn noted that WESCO processes approximately 2.5 million transactions per month, with more than 70 percent charged to Visa and Mastercard debit and credit cards, which both carry costly transaction fees.