Federal Reserve Ends Debit Duopoly

Merchants have right to route debit transactions

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) executive vice president, government affairs Austen Jensen issued the following statement in response to the Federal Reserve’s clarification guaranteeing merchants have the right to route debit transactions for card not present transactions:

“RILA strongly supports and commends the Federal Reserve’s clarification issued today solidifying that merchants have the right to route debit transactions for all sales. The failure of Wall Street banks to enable two unaffiliated networks for all debit transactions—whether they occur online or in-store—has been a flagrant violation of the Durbin Amendment for over a decade. The lack of competition has forced retailers to pay outrageous fees associated with debit transactions. Retailers are ecstatic that the Fed acted here to end this egregious practice.

“RILA urges the Board to quickly put its proposed clarifications into place to ensure issuers will be on utterly unambiguous notice that the Federal Reserve will no longer tolerate their ongoing failure to fully enable merchant routing choice, particularly when it comes to card-not-present transactions.

“This clarification should not have been necessary. Unfortunately, the card network duopoly between Visa and Mastercard and complicit Wall Street banks have refused to accept the critical payment reforms from the Durbin Amendment in 2010. But with these clarifications in place, if the dominant networks and the largest issuers remain recalcitrant, the Board and other enforcement agencies will have ample authority under the statute to seek immediate corrective action.

“RILA applauds the support from the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice for ensuring a merchants right to route is always guaranteed. Ensuring this right will require robust enforcement and attention from federal authorities. We encourage Congress to build on these reforms and expand routing competition to credit card transactions as well.”


RILA is the US trade association for leading retailers. We convene decision-makers, advocate for the industry, and promote operational excellence and innovation. Our aim is to elevate a dynamic industry by transforming the environment in which retailers operate.

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.
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