More than 760 members of the retail community including NATSO members urged Congress to refrain from taking up any legislation that seeks to repeal debit card swipe fee reform, commonly known as the “Durbin Amendment.”
In a letter addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the businesses, which represent a broad cross section of the retail community, said that debit card reforms have been a major step forward and any removal of those reforms would be a monumental step in the wrong direction for U.S. businesses and consumers.
Repealing the 2010 law would dismantle the substantial progress debit reforms have made in correcting in part an otherwise non-functioning and non-transparent card acceptance marketplace in the United States, they said.
Signatories included fuel retailers as well as members of the convenience and restaurant industries, among many others.
The letter was sent amid ongoing discussions on Capitol Hill about financial reform. House Financial Services Committee Chaiman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is expected to introduce legislation substantially similar to the Financial Choice Act introduced last September that included full repeal of debit swipe fee reform.
The debit card fee and rule reforms prescribed in Section 1075 of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act have provided significant relief to Main Street businesses from anti-free market practices employed by global credit and debit card brands.
These much-needed reforms on the debit interchange market brought certainty for retailers and a level of transparency and competition into a market that was historically void of it.
Repeal of the Durbin Amendment would allow the big banks to impose outrageous fees on merchants and increase prices for consumers. Companies like Visa and MasterCard will dominate the market to the extent that they can fix fees, squeezing retailers and raising costs for consumers. It is currently estimated that swipe fees cost merchants and consumers $40 billion every year.
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