Leading Retailers to Congress: Do Not Weaken Debit Reforms

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) sent a letter to the House Financial Services Committee warning lawmakers against weakening the bipartisan reforms achieved under the Durbin Amendment of the Dodd-Frank Act.  

“Weakening the pivotal debit reforms achieved by the Durbin Amendment would allow more sophisticated financial institutions to charge merchants double what they currently charge for debit transactions,” said Austen Jensen, RILA executive vice president, government affairs. “It costs banks a few pennies to process debit transactions, but they make retailers and consumers pay $0.24 each time a debit card is swiped.  There is no reason why lawmakers should entertain weakening protections to allow Wall Street banks to swindle merchants and consumers.” 

The most recent Federal Reserve report on the debit reforms from May of 2023, highlighted the average per-transaction authorization, clearing, and settlement (ACS) cost, for covered issuers equaled $0.039 in 2019, approximately half of the 2009 value—indicating bank costs have substantially declined. Meanwhile, card issuing banks who are above the asset threshold of $10 billion are still allowed to make over a 600% profit because the current regulated rate has remained at roughly twenty-five cents since the Durbin Amendment went into effect in October of 2011. 

RILA submitted comments to the Federal Reserve early this week in support of the agency’s regulation seeking to reduce the base debit interchange rate.  

“Leading retailers are eager to see the Fed finalize their proposal and lower the debit interchange rate. If the committee wants to focus on payment reforms and competition in the market, they should turn their attention to the credit card market and pass the Credit Card Competition Act,” said Jensen.  


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 $2.7 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and hundreds of thousands of stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

  • Payments
  • Supporting Free Markets and Fostering Innovation
  • Competition

Stay in the know

Subscribe to our newsletter