NATIONAL REPORT — Passing the Credit Card Competition Act is the top priority for a network of businesses and advocates that are coming together as the newly formed Lower Credit Card Fees Coalition.
Members include American Economic Liberties Project, Americans for Financial Reform, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Service Employees International Union, and the Merchants Payments Coalition, which includes NACS.
The coalition recently launched a microsite featuring information, testimonials and guidance in reaching out to members of Congress at www.lowercreditcardfees.com, reported NACS Daily.
[Read more: U.S. Senator Talks Swipe Fees With Casey's Leadership Team]
The Credit Card Competition Act would mandate that retailers in many cases have the right to route payments through networks unaffiliated by the credit card providers, potentially lowering the fees they have to pay.
According to the Lower Credit Card Fees Coalition, passing the act marks "a crucial step towards rectifying the long-standing hold of Visa-Mastercard duopoly. Visa and Mastercard's market power allows them to set sky-high swipe fees, ten times higher than they charge in Europe, that have more than doubled over the past decade. Merchants have no way to negotiate rates and have no choice but to accept the rates Visa and Mastercard set. These fees are then passed onto consumers."
Requiring banks that issue credit cards to offer multiple payment networks on their cards would jump-start competition that would lower swipe fees and enhance security and other features, ultimately benefiting both consumers and small businesses, the coalition continued.
[Read more: Convenience Store Retailers Urged to Take Up Fight Against Swipe Fees]
"Consumers, hard-working union members and small businesses alike are tired of high credit card fees and the money big Wall Street banks take out of their pockets," said Doug Kantor, NACS general counsel and member of the Merchants Payments Coalition's executive committee. "Swipe fees cost the average family more than $1,000 per year. It's time for Congress to protect consumers, workers and small businesses from the central price-setting of the Wall Street giants."