On June 7, Senators Jon Tester (D-Montana) and Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) offered an amendment to the Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2011 (S. 782) to delay debit card swipe fee reforms.
“The latest Tester-Corker swipe fee language is no ‘compromise’ and was developed by big banks, for big banks without input from retailers or consumers who are counting the days until reforms take effect July 21,” says Jennifer Hatcher, SVP, government relations at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).
“Masked as a delay bill, the new legislation would effectively kill swipe fee reforms. Any vote to delay the Federal Reserve’s swipe fee rule is premature at this point, since no one has yet seen the Federal Reserve’s final rule,” comments Hatcher. “The Federal Reserve is working on revision to a final rule that is expected to be published in the near future.”
“One thing all Senators have recognized from this debate is that the current system of unpredictable and excessive swipe fees is unfair and unsustainable for the U.S. economy, businesses of all sizes, and American consumers across the nation,” says Hatcher. “However, the Tester-Corker language removes any guarantee that Main Street America will ever see relief from rising debit card swipe fees, and we hope our U.S. Senators will recognize this when the Tester-Corker amendment vote is called.
“Since 2008, 1 million businesses have gone out of business, eliminating 3.6 million jobs. Swipe fees were a large contributor to those failures. And swipe fee reforms can start to help turn this economy around,” says Hatcher.