Many NATSO members joined more than 120 companies representing a broad cross-section of the U.S. economy in urging Members of Congress to reconsider legislation that would repeal debit card fee reforms implemented under the Durbin Amendment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.
In a letter to Representatives Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, and Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, the Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) said that debit card reforms have provided significant relief to Main Street businesses from anti-free market practices. Any removal of those reforms would be a “monumental step in the wrong direction.” NATSO is an active member of the Merchants Payments Coalition.
The businesses said the competitive gap between international and U.S. payment card acceptors is growing every day that the U.S. market fails to move toward a more transparent, equitable, and free market for card acceptance.
The letter was sent in advance of a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Rep. Hensarling’s “Financial Choice Act,” which seeks to repeal the Durbin Amendment.
NATSO member signatories included: Broadway Truck Stops, Davis Oil Company, Deluxe Truck Stop, Detroiter Travel Center, Goetz Companies, Greater Chicago I-55 Truck Plaza, Jubitz Corporation, Kenly 95 Petro, Liberty Petroleum Distributors, Pilot Flying J Travel Centers, Sapp Bros. Travel Centers, TravelCenters of America, and White’s Travel Center.
“As cornerstones in the business community, we are staunch supporters of free enterprise, and generally do not support any market intervention unless markets are not functioning efficiently,” the letter said. “Credit and debit card acceptance is a prime example of a non-functioning marketplace.”
NATSO encourages members to write to their Member of Congress opposing efforts to repeal debit swipe fee reform.
The Durbin Amendment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform required the Federal Reserve to issue rules ensuring debit card interchange rates are reasonable and proportional to the costs incurred. Effective Oct. 1, 2011, the maximum fees that retailers had to pay on all PIN and swiped debit card transactions changed to 24 cents.
The Federal Reserve Board set the per-transaction cap at 21 cents and also allowed for an additional charge of 0.01 cent to cover fraud as well as .05 percent of the sales amount. The new interchange fees can be charged for all debit transactions on card issuers with more than $10 billion in assets. Issuers with fewer than $10 billion in assets are not subject to the Durbin Amendment.
Consumers have saved nearly $30 billion since the reforms have been in place and merchants have saved more than $10 billion, permitting them to reinvest in their businesses, spurring job creation and economic activity.
Marking a major victory for retailers, a federal appeals court on June 30 threw out a $7.25 billion antitrust settlement that Visa and MasterCard had reached with millions of retailers over the high swipe fees that retailers pay each time a customer uses a credit card. The court ruled that it was unfair to retailers who stood to receive no payments and little or no benefit.
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