In a formal comment letter to Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, NATSO’s government affairs team expressed concerns with proposed legislation to repeal debit swipe fee reform, commonly referred to as the “Durbin Amendment.”
Last month, Chairman Hensarling included a provision to repeal the Durbin Amendment in his discussion draft of the Financial CHOICE Act, intended as the Republican alternative to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. Hensarling invited written feedback from interested stakeholders to his proposal before he formally introduces the bill in September. Retiring Representative Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) introduced a stand-alone bill (H.R. 5465) that would also repeal the Durbin Amendment.
In the letter, NATSO states, “The landmark debit reforms contained in the Durbin Amendment have brought stability, transparency, and competition into a market where previously there was none. It brought reasonable and much-needed regulation to the payments system.” Rather than rolling back swipe fee form, NATSO calls on Congress to examine ways to expand it.
NATSO concludes stating, “Repealing the Durbin Amendment would be a massive step backward, allowing the largest banks and credit networks to return to an uncompetitive market that will leave American consumers and merchants vulnerable to the highest swipe fees in the world in an inherently less secure payment system.”
This legislation has no chance of passing this year, but it is part of a broader House Republican effort to showcase policy priorities before the November elections. Despite its long-odds at being enacted this year, proposals such as these often are referred to in subsequent years when Congress begins serious efforts to pass financial reform legislation. Therefore, NATSO and the entire merchant community takes the threat very seriously, and is actively working to ensure that lawmakers know that this is a controversial proposal that should not be considered either this year or in the future.
NATSO encourages members to write to their Member of Congress opposing efforts to repeal debit swipe fee reform.
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