The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) is not pleased with the House Financial Services Committee vote to report House Resolution 5983, the Financial Choice Act.
Lyle Beckwith, NACS SVP of government relations, said, “NACS is deeply disappointed at the House Financial Services Committee’s vote to report the controversial and misnamed ‘Financial Choice Act’—which includes repeal of the highly effective, pro-competition and pro-consumer debit swipe fee reform—but given the bipartisan opposition that arose even as the bill was rammed through committee, repeal efforts should not move forward.”
He added, “While the bill’s sponsors inserted the acronym CHOICE in the bill title—standing for ‘Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs’—the act as currently constituted would instead generate more costs and lost opportunity for entrepreneurs, higher prices for consumers and greater monopoly profits for the credit card giants by eliminating competition in the debit-card arena.”
Beckwith says repeal of swipe fee reform would put Visa and MasterCard right back into the price-fixing business by making it impossible for smaller card networks to compete and would dramatically increase costs for convenience store owners, for whom swipe fees are already, on average, their fastest-growing expense. And it would quickly wipe out the nearly $6 billion in savings consumers have experienced each year thanks to the reform.
“In the end, it is clear that the bill in its current form lacks the support necessary to get through Congress, given its potential harm to competition, consumers and small business,” he said.
According to a report by the Merchants Payments Coalition, reductions in debit fees driven by swipe fee reform put nearly $6 billion in consumers’ hands through lower prices in the first year of reform alone and supported more than 37,000 new jobs annually. In addition, small merchants have benefited from greater transparency in debit card transactions.