Today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) responded to the House Financial Services Committee’s introduction of the CHOICE Act, legislation that would roll back many of the financial reforms passed in the wake of the financial meltdown in 2008. Retailers have vowed to fight any financial reform bill that repeals swipe fee reform, bipartisan legislation passed in 2010 that stopped large banks and card networks from charging merchants exorbitant fees on debit card transactions.
“The CHOICE Act gives the largest banks and card networks a green light to charge billions in higher fees from every business in America that accepts debit cards,” said Austen Jensen, Vice President of Government Affairs and Financial Services for RILA.
“Repealing swipe fee reform is a billion-dollar giveaway to banks that are generating record profits and passing out record bonuses; it’s a poison pill for any bipartisan effort to enact meaningful financial reform.”
Jensen said higher fees from banks would undoubtedly mean higher prices for consumers.
“Competition in the retail sector has never been more intense, and retailers across America are operating on razor-thin profit margins,” said Jensen. “If banks go back to charging excessive fees every time a customer swipes their card, those fees will ultimately be paid by the consumer.”
Retailers believe repealing swipe fee reform is bad for the economy and bad for America. Americans agree.
- 76 percent of all voters believe that big banks got a bailout while millions of Americans were left to suffer.
- 63 percent of Trump voters (67 percent of all voters) believe that banks are taking advantage of retailers.
- 55 percent of all voters oppose swipe fees of any kind.
Jensen urged lawmakers to remove swipe fee provisions from the CHOICE Act and focus on provisions with bipartisan agreement that can pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by President Trump.
“Congress should focus on reforms that have bipartisan support--cutting red tape for small banks and making it easier for businesses to gain access to capital,” said Jensen. “Financial reform will be a bust for the average American if Congress fixates on giving big banks back their license to fleece.”
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.