More than 60 representatives from retailers, grocers, convenience stores and restaurants will gather in Washington this week to meet with lawmakers. The groups will discuss the importance of upholding hard-fought debit swipe fee reforms as Congress readies legislation to repeal it.
In 2010, debit swipe fee reforms introduced competition and transparency into a market where previously there was none. Despite a proven record, the House is readying legislation to repeal the Durbin Amendment which threatens to rip away those reforms, raising costs on Main Street and handing over billions to Wall Street and card companies.
Members from the Food Marketing Institute, Merchant Advisory Group, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation and Retail Industry Leaders Association will visit Capitol Hill to tell their story of how pro-competitive debit reforms have positively impacted their businesses and implore Congress to stand with Main Street retailers by opposing any efforts to weaken or repeal the law.
"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. The electorate has spoken and they do not want to bailout big banks for providing another bonus check for Wall Street," said Austen Jensen, Vice President of Financial Services for the Retail Industry Leaders Association.
"If debit reform is repealed, the card industry will go back to anti-competitive practices that cost retailers and their customers billions of dollars a year.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 today to tell lawmakers that debit reform needs to be preserved for the sake of American consumers and our nation's economy," said Mallory Duncan, National Retail Federation Senior Vice President and General Counsel.
"If Wall Street gets its way and the current debit swipe-fee protections are removed, it would mean an $8 billion tax on small businesses that goes directly into the pockets of the biggest banks in the country. Our restaurants are on Capitol Hill today to make it perfectly clear to Congress that we are strongly opposed to changes to these protections," said Leslie Shedd, Vice President, National Restaurant Association.
"Rolling back debit reforms puts legacy players in the driver's seat for digital commerce. We should be focused on opening up the market to players who provide faster, more secure, more reliable, and more cost-efficient solutions that help us better serve our customers," said Liz Garner, Senior Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs for the Merchant Advisory Group.
Swipe fee reform has been and continues to be one of the most pressing matters for Main Street. Debit swipe fees are merchants' second highest operational cost only to labor.
Merchant groups have been working side by side on creating a competitive marketplace for many years. Our Associations hope that Congress will spend its term taking a closer look into areas of the payments market that need restructuring and leave pro-competitive debit reforms in place.
RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad