Retail Coalition Rips Bank's Swipe Fee Lawsuit

In response to TCF National Bank’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) swipe fee amendment to the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Washington-based Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) voiced its strong support for the provision, as well as its belief that the lawsuit is without merit.

The swipe fee amendment will ensure that the fees charged for accepting debit cards are “reasonable and proportional” to cost and give merchants the ability to offer discounts to customers for using less expensive forms of payment. TCF’s suit alleges that the Durbin amendment is unconstitutional and discriminates against the bank because of its large size.

“There is no legal basis for TCF’s lawsuit, and it is yet another example of the big banks trying to avoid fairness and transparency in the credit and debit card interchange market,” noted Lyle Beckwith, SVP of government relations at the National Association of Convenience Stores, one of the trade associations with membership in the coalition, which also includes retailers, supermarkets, drug stores and other businesses. “TCF chairman and CEO William Cooper made clear … that TCF would continue to make money on consumer accounts whether or not the Durbin amendment is implemented. They will just make less once the amendment is effective because their fees will have to be reasonable. There is no legal guarantee for the big banks to continue to make windfall profits.

Continued Beckwith: “The Durbin amendment represents the sort of Main Street stimulus that this country has been waiting for — and brings real, tangible benefits for merchants and their customers. Financial reform legislation gives us the ability to lower our costs, create more jobs, provide more benefits for our customers, and keep growing and contributing to the economy.”

The MPC’s members collectively represent about 2.7 million stores with around 50 million employees.

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