Retail Groups Meet With Lawmakers on Swipe Fee Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The retail community banded together and met with federal legislators to discuss keeping hard-fought swipe fee reforms in place.

More than 60 representatives from NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), National Retail Federation (NRF), Merchant Advisory Group, Food Marketing Institute, and the National Restaurant Association visited Capitol Hill to tell lawmakers "how pro-competitive debit reforms have positively impacted their businesses and ask Congress to stand with Main Street retailers by opposing any efforts to weaken or repeal the law," according to RILA.

The 2010 Durbin Amendment — part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — put in place debit card swipe fee regulations which, in part, capped those fees at 21 cents per transaction plus five basis points, or .05 percent of the transaction.

However, those reforms have come under fire from federal legislators looking to repeal the regulations.

"By repealing debit swipe fee reform, Congress is standing with card companies and big banks on the backs of Main Street retailers. These reforms have saved retailers and our consumers billions. Repealing these reforms would harm merchants and our customers," said Austen Jensen, vice president of financial services for RILA. "The electorate has spoken and they do not want to bailout big banks for providing another bonus check for Wall Street."

President Donald Trump has also put Dodd-Frank on his administration's radar. Trump has ordered a review of the law to be conducted by his Department of Treasury secretary; however, as of Feb. 10 the U.S. Senate has yet to approve his nominee, Steven Mnuchin, according to The Associated Press. The vote on Mnuchin could come on Monday, Feb. 13.

"If debit reform is repealed, the card industry will go back to anti-competitive practices that cost retailers and their customers billions of dollars a year. If that happens, the fees will go nowhere but up and the opportunity for competition will be lost. Retailers are on Capitol Hill to tell lawmakers that debit reform needs to be preserved for the sake of American consumers and our nation's economy," said Mallory Duncan, NRF senior vice president and general counsel.

Debit swipe fees are retailers' second highest operational cost only to labor.

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