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Small Business Owners Headed to D.C. to Fight Swipe Fees

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Small business owners from across the country will converge on Capitol Hill Thursday to speak with members of Congress about the excessive credit card interchange fees that are placing an enormous burden on their businesses.

Supporters of the Credit Card Con, a project of Consumers for Competitive Choice (C4CC), said they will represent Main Street America as they discuss how these fees -- which are assessed every time a transaction is completed by swiping or keying in a credit card or debit card -- hinder job growth and unfairly raise consumer prices.

Credit card companies swiped $48 billion in these fees in 2008 alone, up 300 percent since 2001. Every dollar spent on excess interchange fees is another dollar not spent hiring workers or providing savings to customers, according to the group.

On May 22, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the "Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009," or "CARD Act," into law. The legislation included restrictions on interest rates, limits on fees and tough restrictions to protect young consumers, but the CARD Act did not address interchange fees.

Main Street businesses are concerned the big banks and credit card companies will continue to exploit this loophole by raising credit card interchange fees. The CARD Act is slated to go into effect Feb. 22, but Consumers for Competitive Choice will tell Congress this week that it cannot consider its work on financial regulatory reform complete until excessive interchange fees have been addressed.

Bob Johnson, president of Consumers for Competitive Choice, will lead the delegation.

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