Interchange Fee Reform Dropped by House Committee

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Interchange Fee Reform Dropped by House Committee

02/28/2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A serious blow was dealt to convenience retailers and merchants across the U.S. late last week, when U.S. Representative Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said he won't seek to regulate in 2010 the interchange fees credit card companies charge merchants, BusinessWeek reported.

"It is not on our agenda this year," Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, said Thursday at the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington.

Across the retail spectrum -- from Walmart and 7-Eleven to Target and Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes -- companies have petitioned and asked Congress to investigate and reduce the fee, which generated an estimated $48 billion in 2008, according to the National Retail Federation.

Banks use the interchange revenue to pay for rewards programs and to cover the cost of cardholder defaults, the report stated. The fees average approximately 2 percent in the U.S. -- the highest in the world, according to Representative Peter Welch, a Vermont Democrat who's sponsoring a bill that would prohibit higher credit card fees on premium cards.

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