NRF Urges Vt. Gov. to Sign Bill Allowing Discount for Cash Purchases

May 10, 2010 

The National Retail Federation on behalf of merchants across the country last week asked Vermont Governor Jim Douglas to sign a bill passed in the state legislature that would eliminate some of the issues that have arisen as retailers battle the card networks and issuers on swipe fees. The bill—which allows store owners in the Green Mountain State to set up to a $10 minimum sale price for payment card purchases and offer discounts to customers who use cards that carry a lower processing fee—reached Douglas’ desk after passing 33-0 in the Senate and 139-0 in the House. “This is very significant that we have seen such an overwhelming vote,” said Mallory Duncan, senior vice president for the NRF. “The entire body of the state legislature realizes how badly the credit card industry is treating local merchants and their customers,” NRF Senior Vice President Mallory Duncan said. “We trust that Governor Douglas will provide Vermont merchants and consumers with protection against the big credit card companies by endorsing the protections included in this bill.” MasterCard Worldwide, which in concert with Visa and other entities unilaterally sets the transaction fees its issuing banks charge merchants, said the bill will result in Vermont residents spending more when they use payment cards. “The legislation would restrict consumer choice, and allow merchants to circumvent MasterCard rules that prevent consumers from being penalized for preferring to use an electronic payment card,” according to a statement from the Purchase, N.Y.-based card network.