Visa Continues to Spread Swipe Fee Misinformation (NACSOnline)

A poll sponsored by Visa claims that Americans reject Sen. Durbin’s swipe fee reform amendment.

WASHINGTON – Retailers are blasting a new survey sponsored by Visa, which claims that a majority of Americans oppose the Durbin amendment that is being debated on Capitol Hill.

According to the survey, 83 percent of respondents specifically oppose the amendment’s requirement that the government establish the prices retailers pay for accepting debit cards, if it would likely result in debit cardholders paying fees for owning and using their debit cards.

The study also found that 75 percent of consumers would oppose — and 59 percent would strongly oppose — Wall Street reform legislation overall if it results in consumers having to pay more to use a debit card and mandates minimum payments on credit cards. Sixty percent of consumers believe retailers — not cardholders — should bear the fair cost of accepting credit and debit cards.

The Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) has dismissed the study’s findings by noting that the poll had been “bought and paid for by Visa. Its findings are nothing more than one more cynical attempt by credit card companies and Wall Street banks to protect their swipe fee cash cow,” said NACS Senior Vice President of Government Relations Lyle Beckwith.

“The same big banks and financial institutions that drove our economy into the ditch and needed a bailout are spending millions on a disinformation campaign to stop common-sense reform that will help small businesses and our customers,” said Beckwith. “But like much of what we get from banks and credit card companies these days, you’d better read the fine print.”

“This poll asks a series of deliberately misleading questions designed to elicit a predetermined response — it’s a Visa push poll, plain and simple. The Durbin amendment would not force consumers to pay to own or use their debit cards,” he said. “The credit card industry knows this, and the big banks know this. But if we’ve learned one thing during the financial reform debate it’s that Visa and Wall Street will spend whatever it takes and say just about anything to protect the skyrocketing hidden fees that are making them billions.

“More than 5 million consumers across the United States have signed petitions calling on Congress to reform these unfair, hidden fees. This is about lower prices for them and a fair shake for the small businesses in their communities. Be wary of credit card companies peddling numbers that seem too good to be true — because the truth is usually hidden somewhere in the fine print,” said Beckwith.

Retailers must weigh in and tell the industry’s story to members of Congress, or else they will believe the misinformation that is being spread by the credit card companies and the banking lobby. Act now — contact your legislators and ask them to keep the Durbin amendment — unchanged — in the final version of the Financial Services Reform bill.


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