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The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has introduced an online petition for retailers to sign as a way to show their support for the debit card reforms Congress passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill last year. The petition, which marks the one-year anniversary of the Durbin Amendment, is available at www.keepdebitswipefeesincheck.com.
Adopted by a 64-to-33 vote in the Senate, the amendment, sponsored by Sen. Dick Durban (D-Ill.), would reform fixed fees that FMI says are the highest the world. While seven of the eight countries with the highest per capita debit card usage have a swipe fee rate of zero, fees in the United States can be as high as 50 cents per swipe, according to the industry organization. Legislation introduced in both houses of Congress would delay the reforms for up to two years.
“Today, retailers struggle to balance swipe fees, which are the second-highest operation cost after labor,” noted Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of the Arlington, Va.-based trade association. “Due to this, consumers are shouldering the burden, as portions of these fees must be incorporated into the price of goods.”
“The inability for supermarkets to negotiate fees and terms of card acceptance leaves many at the mercy of the big banks and card networks,” added Jennifer Hatcher, FMI’s SVP of government and public affairs.”Last year, Congress passed reforms to rein in debit card swipe fees, and it is critical to the livelihood of Main Street business that these reforms go into effect on time this year.”