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Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) group VP of government relations Jennifer Hatcher, supported this week’s report from the U.S. Department of Treasury that found the federal government could save over $36 million a year if it could negotiate its interchange rates with Visa and MasterCard. Under the present system, FMI noted, the interchange swipe fees are unilaterally set by the large card companies.
According to Hatcher, the report “shows that the federal government can’t catch a break on interchange rates, and American taxpayers foot the bill. Americans are paying millions of dollars every year in credit and debit card swipe fees. According to the report, federal agencies accepted more than 80 million credit and debit card transactions totaling $8.6 billion in 2009. Interchange and other fees cost the government more than $116 million last year.”
Continued Hatcher: “If even the U.S. government cannot negotiate with the credit card company giants, then clearly, an independent grocery store owner must pay whatever fee the credit card networks impose. When an industry operates on a low profit margin of 1 percent to 2 percent, it is the customer who pays these fees.”
Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute (FMI) conducts programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations on behalf of its 1,500 member companies — food retailers and wholesalers — in the United States and around the world. The group’s U.S. members operate about 26,000 retail food stores and 14,000 pharmacies.