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09/23/2022

Grocers Welcome Bipartisan House Legislation to Bolster Credit Card Market Competition

FMI, NGA support companion bill introduced by Reps. Welch, Gooden
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Industry ‘Pleased’ by Move to Cancel Interchange Fee Hike FMI Merchants Payments Coalition
Grocers of all sizes are in favor of bipartisan legislation introduced in the House of Representative that would require more than one network option on credit cards, giving food retailers greater choice in payment routing.

FMI – The Food Industry Association has endorsed legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Lance Gooden, R-Texas, to require more than one network option on credit cards, giving food retailers and other merchants greater choice in payment routing and fostering innovations in vendor services and fraud protection for merchants and consumers alike. The House bill (H.R. 8874) is companion legislation to the bipartisan Credit Card Competition Act (S. 4674) sponsored by Sens. Dick Durban, D-Ill., and Roger Marshall, R-Kan., earlier this year. 

“FMI commends Reps. Welch and Gooden for prioritizing increased competition in the credit card market through the introduction of this critical legislation,” said Jennifer Hatcher, chief public policy officer and SVP, government relations at Arlington, Va.-based FMI. “We are grateful for their support to provide more routing choices for businesses like food retailers, and we are proud to endorse the Credit Card Competition Act.”

Added Hatcher: “Grocers are committed to serving all their customers, regardless of how they pay. Unfortunately, credit card companies have exponentially increased the hidden processing fees that grocers and ultimately consumers are forced to pay for accepting credit cards as payment. Card processing fees in the U.S. are some of the highest in the world, totaling $137.8 billion in 2021, according to Nilson Report, and costing the typical American family an average of $900 per year. Excessively high credit swipe fees reduce the ability of grocery stores to invest in their businesses and keep prices as low as possible for their customers.”

Retail and wholesale community grocers comprising the independent sector of the food distribution industry have also expressed their support for the House bill.

“Credit card payments are among the highest costs of doing business for many U.S. merchants, including independent community grocers,” noted Christopher Jones, SVP of government relations and counsel at Washington, D.C.-based National Grocers Association (NGA), which represents the independent sector. “These ‘swipe fees’ have a direct impact on our members’ operations and the viability of their businesses. Swipe fees are the second-largest operating costs for grocers and are out of their control.” 

Both founding members of the Merchants Payments Coalition, FMI and NGA recently joined more than 230 state, regional and national associations across all 50 states and Puerto Rico in a letter urging House members to support the Credit Card Competition Act. The trade associations also facilitated a letter signed by almost 1,700 companies of various sizes and industries across the United States similarly urging representatives to co-sponsor the bipartisan legislation

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