Credit card fees known as swipe fees are hidden in the cost of nearly everything consumers buy. In 2008 alone, American merchants and consumers paid over $48 billion in swipe fees. Even consumers who don’t use plastic pay more through higher prices. Visa issuers collectively set credit card interchange fees in secret and MasterCard issuers separately do the same. The fees can’t be negotiated and are not adequately disclosed to merchants or consumers.
Tell your Members of Congress to stop the price-fixing by the credit card industry and provide an open and transparent process to negotiate swipe fees by supporting swipe fee reforms in their current form.
RE: Vote NO on S. 575 and H.R. 1081
I am writing to you today to urge you to vote NO on any type of delay of the debit card swipe fee reform.
Congress should make it easier, not harder, to offer consumer discounts; delaying swipe fee reform will make discounting nearly impossible. And discounting is all the more important as gasoline tops $4 a gallon.
The same big banks that were bailed out a few years back are asking Congress to turn its back on American business owners and consumers, so that the credit card companies and their banking allies can keep on gouging Main Street Americans with their price-fixing swipe fee scheme.
Swipe fee reform was designed to bring fairness and transparency to the shrouded swipe fee payments system. The law says that the big banks have a choice: they can open the fees to competition and charge whatever price the market permits or they can continue to fix their fees, but those price-fixed fees must be “reasonable and proportional” to their costs.
Congress has held 9 hearings and 1 markup on swipe fees and the GAO has issued 3 reports. I can read the writing between the lines. I know that S. 575 and H.R. 1081 were not written to study the swipe fees that are crippling my business and every consumer in your district; they were written using the big banks’ scare tactics in order to completely derail these reforms. These aren’t “study” bills…they are “kill” bills.
Americans pay the highest swipe fees in the world. Merchants and consumers have been waiting for years to see these reforms realized, and every month of delay means another $1 billion that we have to hand over to the big banks and credit card companies.
I can’t tell you strongly enough how important this is to businesses in your district like mine. Please stand with your constituents, including business owners and consumer, and make sure that swipe fee reforms are allowed to take effect this summer.