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Credit card processing company gives part of fees to local foundation

February 26, 2012

HAGERSTOWN — A Hagerstown-area credit card processing company is contributing a portion of the fees it collects through local merchants to a fund at the Community Foundation of Washington County that will benefit local charities.

Equity Commerce’s WashCo Merchant Community Fund is the first fund at the community foundation to have been created by a business, said Bradley N. Sell, executive director of the foundation.

“We were really excited by that,” he said. “We’re hoping that other businesses will see the value in using the foundation to achieve their charitable goals.”

Equity Commerce started the fund with a $5,000 contribution in May 2011, Equity Commerce President Jeff Brown said.

The company has committed to contribute to the fund at least 20 percent of its profit on each credit card transaction it processes within the county, Brown said.

There will be no additional cost to merchants, Brown said.

Participating businesses will display a WashCo Merchant Community Fund decal next to the signs indicating which credit cards they accept, Brown said.

Equity Commerce, formed in 2005 and based on Shawley Drive, north of Hagerstown, powers and programs credit card readers for merchants.

It collects a processing fee of about 1.5 percent to 2 percent, plus a transaction fee, on each credit card purchase, Brown said. The company passes on part of that fee to the card-issuing bank, and what’s left is Equity Commerce’s profit, he said.

Equity Commerce serves about 3,500 merchants nationwide, including 57 in Washington County, he said.

The company makes an average of about $35 a month on each merchant. At that rate, with 57 local merchants, the company’s 20 percent contribution would be about $5,000 a year.

The Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that manages funds contributed by members of the community, and makes annual grants to local charities and nonprofit organizations.

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