Supermarkets Call for Interchange Swipe Fee Reform

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Supermarkets Call for Interchange Swipe Fee Reform

Interchange fees for PIN debit cards on the Visa network increase today, and food retailers aren’t happy.

“It is unacceptable that Visa continues to increase fees at a time when our country needs to protect the hardworking Americans who provide jobs in our communities,” said Food Marketing Institute (FMI) president and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin. “Swipe fees are hurting small independent businesses and grocers the most because they pay some of the highest rates and have no choice about whether or not to accept debit cards to remain competitive.”

According to FMI, credit and debit card swipe fees cost American consumers and businesses more than $48 billion in 2008, and have tripled in the past decade.

“Much-needed swipe fee reforms will continue to be a top priority for FMI,” Sarasin added. “We applaud Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), and Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) for their leadership on this important industry issue, and we encourage other lawmakers to support their efforts to bring meaningful relief to interchange swipe fees and unfair, intrusive card company practices that are squeezing small businesses and raising prices for all our customers.”

Arlington, Va.-based FMI conducts programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations on behalf of its 1,500 member companies — food retailers and wholesalers — in the United States and around the world. FMI’s U.S. members operate approximately 26,000 retail food stores and 14,000 pharmacies. Their combined annual sales volume of $680 billion represents three-quarters of all retail food store sales in the United States.