The National Retail Federation (RTF) has rolled out an advertising campaign asking the U.S. House preserve debit card swipe fee reform, which, according to the Washington, D.C.-based organization – the world’s largest retail trade association – has saved retailers and customers more than $40 billion and brought needed competition to the payments market. The consumer-focused ads made their debut ahead of the House’s vote the week of May 22 on the Financial Choice Act, which would repeal swipe fee reform as part of a larger reversal of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
“We want to make sure voters understand that swipe fees add to the cost of everything they purchase, and that before reform banks had created an uncompetitive market that allowed them to set these fees as high as they liked,” explained NRF SVP for Government Relations David French. “Repeal would allow the monopolistic practices of the past to come back and allow the banks to start increasing these fees – and the prices paid by consumers – again. We want voters to know what is at stake.”
The campaign launched, with a 60-second spot featuring two baseball announcers discussing the legislation, in the Winston-Salem, N.C., area, the congressional district of Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), a vocal critic of swipe fee reform. The ads will expand into key congressional districts across the country and continue during the run-up to the House vote.
Additional campaign components will include full-page newspaper ads and online digital ads in some locations. Those ads will feature a shady character taking money out of a consumer’s wallet, with a headline asking, “What are the banks hiding when it comes to swipe fee reform?” Another line reads, “Don’t let big banks take your money.”
In related news, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, based in Arlington, Va., has launched a national TV ad campaign in favor of keeping debit card swipe fee reform.