Heartland Payment Systems Inc. announces new “Durbin Dollars” initiative

Princeton, N.J.-based card payments processor Heartland Payment Systems Inc. said during its second-quarter 2011 earnings conference call last week that through its new "Durbin Dollars" initiative, it is "going to send every single dollar that was mandated in the Durbin legislation to the place it was intended–to our merchants’ bank accounts."

Robert Carr, Heartland’s executive chairman and CEO, said, "Heartland believes this is the right thing to do. But just as importantly, we believe that we can build sustainable organic growth in this way. … We believe our Durbin dollars campaign will give us lasting momentum in growing our business."

He added, "This is mostly trench warfare, and we’re preparing for each one of our merchants. We’re going to give them an estimate of the annual dollar savings. It’s going to average about $1,200 a year, about $100 a month. And … beginning in October, we will be producing and telling each merchant each month how many dollars that we passed back to them as a result of the Durbin amendment …. And I know it’s really ingenious to keep some of this money, and we’re idiots for giving it all back. I know that’s how we’re described by some of our competitors. But I think our motto is much more sustainable. We don’t have to worry about our margins being ‘competed away.’ … The law was not intended to increase the acquirers’ margins. I don’t think that was what Durbin had on his mind."