Merchants Hail Swipe Fee Victory in Congress

June 28, 2010

Retail groups from every industry hailed the decision reached last week on swipe fee reform by a congressional conference committee working on a larger financial reform bill. After a 27-16 vote, conference members agreed to include an amendment sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin, (D-Ill.) that will require the Federal Reserve to set regulations resulting in “reasonable and proportional” swipe fees for debit cards. “The conference committee has struck a blow for retailers and their customers,” National Retail Federation Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “With this conference report in hand, Congress has an opportunity to stand up for Main Street businesses and consumers and rein in the greed of the big Wall Street banks and credit card companies.” A national group representing grocers also weighed in: “FMI and our members have had interchange fee reform at the top of our list of priority issues for the past decade,” noted Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Group. “These fees represent the fastest-growing expense of our retail members and the only one over which we have zero control. This compromise is a good deal for consumers and is a strong step forward for competition.” The larger bill is expected to be voted on in both the House and the Senate this week.