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SAVANNAH, Ga. -- With an eye toward building customer loyalty and reducing the amount of money it pays credit card companies every year, Parker's, a locally owned convenience store chain, is now offering a debit card linked to customers' bank accounts that offers a discount at the gas pump, according to Savannhnow.com.
Customers using the new debit card can get a discount up to 10 cents a gallon. The card was introduced two weeks ago at 24 area stores, and chain owner Greg Parker told the news outlet that it has been "unbelievably" popular.
To date 3,000 cards for Parker's have been activated. To participate, customers need a checking account, e-mail address and driver's license. They pick up the card at a participating Parker's, go online to sign up and, after confirming a small credit and debit placed in their checking accounts, customers can use the card to get a discount when buying gas, according to Savannhnow.com.
Parker's is now the third retailer in the area to offer a debit card. Flash Foods has been offering a similar program through the same company as Parker's -- National Payment Card Association in Coconut Creek, Fla. -- for more than two years. The Flash Foods card offers a 5-cent discount per gallon, Savannhnow.com reported.
In addition, Murphy gas stations have been using a check-card program through National Payment Card Association for about nine months. Its program offers a 3-cent discount per gallon.
Retailer debit cards can be seen as a backlash to credit card processing fees that cut into retailer's profits, according to the news outlet. According to Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president for government relations for the Association for Convenience and Petroleum Retailing, convenience stores pay more to credit card companies each year than they make in overall profit. In 2008, c-stores made $5.2 billion in profit, but paid $8.4 billion in credit card fees.