Merchants Oppose Poison Pill That Undercuts Competition, Main Street and Consumers

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

“Without debit reform’s competition-enhancing standards, banks would be free to return to the days of unfettered price fixing”

Yesterday, Chairman Jeb Hensarling of the House Financial Services Committee gave a speech about his commitment to helping Main Street and ending government bailouts. Unfortunately, the draft bill he released later in the day does the exact opposite.

Section 335 of chairman’s Hensarling's discussion draft of the “CHOICE Act” favors the interests of fewer than two percent of the nation’s largest banks and the credit-card brands over the interests of small retailers, their employees and consumers in every Congressional district in the country.

This bill would turn back reforms that created a freer market and prevented Visa and MasterCard from price-fixing the fees their member banks charge merchants when customers swipe a debit card to buy something. Rep. Hensarling would turn the clock back six years to when financial institutions operated this “swipe fee” business as a rigged market without competition.

The reforms Rep. Hensarling proposes to repeal also brought competition into the debit- routing market, where previously there was none. Repealing these reforms removes requirements for networks to compete and paves the way for network monopolies, reducing our payment security while raising costs for all American consumers and retailers and harming our economy as a whole.

“Without debit reform’s competition-enhancing standards, banks would be free to return to the days of unfettered price fixing,” said Mallory Duncan, chairman of the Merchants Payments Coalition and senior vice president and general counsel at the National Retail Federation. “It’s important to remember that despite the smokescreen the big banks put up, debit reform is an incontrovertible success and should be protected.”

Join the millions of Main Street businesses in every Congressional district in calling for Chairman Hensarling to remove his poison-pill language that leaves the debit- card market without competition.

The Merchants Payments Coalition 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