Retail Industry Praises House Vote on Swipe Fees

Following the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage yesterday of the Conference Report to H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which includes a provision to regulate interchange fees set by banks and credit card companies, the retail industry reiterated its strong support for the measure.

“[The] vote caps more than a decade of work by FMI and our members to educate members of Congress about these excessive fees and their impact on our customers,” said said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO at Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute (FMI), which, as a founding member of the Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC), has long battled what the retail sector says are exorbitant credit-card interchange fees costing consumers over $50 million annually. “This vote is incredibly important to both merchants and consumers, and is the beginning of a process that will provide greater transparency in credit and debit transactions.”

“Although the merchant community gave up some additional reforms during the conference process, the resulting compromise represents a major step in the right direction for those who accept credit and debit cards,” noted John Emling, SVP for government affairs for the Arlington-based Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), whose membership consists of over 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers. “By focusing narrowly on financial institutions at that heart of the problem, the swipe fee reforms included in the Dodd-Frank Act address the out-of-control fees, while excluding smaller banks and credit unions from reforms.”

If the conference report passes in the Senate, President Obama has said he would sign it into law.

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