Hensarling Legislation Would Hurt Consumers and Main-Street Businesses

WASHINGTON--()--The following press release was issued by Merchants Payments Coalition:

“It is unfortunate that the chairman's proposal would undermine the free market and instead support price-fixing that benefits the largest of the largest banks and threatens consumers, merchants and the entire economy.”

The Merchants Payments Coalition opposes Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s proposal to allow more price-fixing of debit-card swipe fees.

Reform of the fees has helped consumers save nearly $6 billion a year and supported about 37,000 jobs each year since the reforms went into effect in late 2011.

Rep. Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, today announced plans to repeal swipe-fee reform and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

“The Hensarling proposal would promote more price-fixing and detract from the few market forces that were actually created on debit-card fees,” said Douglas Kantor, counsel to the Merchants Payments Coalition, which fights for a more transparent and free market in swipe fees.

“It is unfortunate that the chairman's proposal would undermine the free market and instead support price-fixing that benefits the largest of the largest banks and threatens consumers, merchants and the entire economy.”

Visa and MasterCard so dominate this market that they can price-fix the swipe fees their member banks charge. Debit-card reform was a first step toward introducing free market principles into this uncompetitive market.

Swipe fees on debit and credit cards are many retailers’ second-largest operating cost, behind only labor. That threatens small retailers with failure and keeps merchants from hiring and expanding, slowing the entire economy.

Exorbitant swipe fees mean consumers pay higher prices, which especially hurts the poor.

American merchants and consumers still pay the highest swipe fees in the world on debit and credit cards, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Rep. Hensarling would make American merchants and consumers worse-off than their counterparts almost everywhere else in the world. That is simply wrong.

The Merchants Payments Coalition (http://www.unfaircreditcardfees.com/) represents 2.7 million stores, including restaurants, supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, gas stations, on-line merchants and others, with 50 million employees, fighting unfair credit-card fees and working for a competitive and transparent system for merchants and consumers.

Contacts

Merchants Payments Coalition
Michael Flagg, 202-253-4164
mflagg@castinegroup.com