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    NGA Backs Fed Steps to Cut Unfair Swipe Fees

    CEO Larkin: They’re ‘steps in the right direction’

    The National Grocers Association is praising new Federal Reserve rules aimed at reducing debit card swipe fees.

    “The proposed rules put forth by the Federal Reserve today are a step in the right direction to reduce the unfair debit swipe fees that are imposed on independent retail grocers and other merchants,” said Peter Larkin, NGA president and CEO. “NGA strongly believes there should be no swipe fees on debit transactions similar to the way checks are treated today. However, the Federal Reserve has taken an important step to fulfill Congress' intent to reform debit swipe fees this year.”

    Larkin said the Fed’s action promises savings for consumers and independent retail grocers. “More needs to be done. For example, the Federal Reserve must assure independent retailers have a choice in routing debit transactions by requiring there be two unaffiliated signature networks and two unaffiliated PIN networks available,” he said. “The action by the Federal Reserve confirms the magnitude of the unjustified anticompetitive swipe fees that are and have been imposed on consumers and merchants.”

    Support for the Fed’s move also is coming from the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “Although Federal Reserve’s proposal is not entirely conclusive, it does validate the long-held claims of merchants and consumers that the electronic payments market is broken and needs to be fixed,” said Katherine Lugar, RILA EVP for public affairs. The announcement, she said “is a step forward for the effort to bring relief to merchants and consumers who for too long have faced excessive fees and unfair rules imposed by big banks and credit card companies. Proposed cost reductions will undoubtedly result in savings for consumers. We intend to continue to make our case to the Federal Reserve that without strong reforms merchants and consumers will continue to be harmed.”

    NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry.

    RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales.
     

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