Consumer Group: Interchange Stifles Job Growth

INDIANAPOLIS -- As the national unemployment rate remains in the double digits, at 10 percent, the Consumers for Competitive Choice (C4CC) group President Bob Johnson issued a call for interchange fee reform, a move that he said would spur job growth.

"With the national unemployment still at a troubling level, we have a very long way to go before this economy is where we need it to be," he said in a statement. "I have spoken with small business owners throughout the country these past few weeks and they all have one thing to say -- credit card interchange "swipe" fees are increasing and are hurting both small business and consumers. This fact was recently supported by the Government Accountability Office's report on interchange fees."

Interchange fees, the charges merchants are assessed every time a purchase is completed by swiping a credit or debit card, cost retailers an average of 2 percent per transaction.

"In 1995, CN Brown paid $353,000 in interchange fees," Jinger Duryea, president of CN Brown, which owns Big Apple convenience stores in Maine, said in a statement. "In 2007, we paid $3,494,000 in interchange fees. This amount of money could stretch very far if any portion were available to us to hire additional employees or lower costs for consumers, rather than lining the pockets of credit card companies."

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