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Food Retail Industry Victorious In Preserving Debit Swipe Fee Reforms

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Last updated on June 14th, 2024 at 09:10 am

House Republican leaders reportedly will remove language from the Financial Choice Act (House Resolution 10) that would have repealed debit swipe fee reforms.

For nearly a year, the retail industry opposed House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s proposal to repeal the Durbin Amendment, which limited what the largest banks could charge in swipe fees and injected competition on swipe fees and network routing fees into the debit card market.

The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), along with other members of the Merchants Payments Coalition, have led the efforts to strip the repeal provision from the HR 10.

According to a NACS report, House leadership began surveying members of their conference on the CHOICE Act, and it became clear that the votes were not there to pass the bill unless the repeal of debit reform was removed from the bill.

The National Grocers Association (NGA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) are commending the move.

“The battle to preserve debit swipe fee reforms is an important victory for the independent supermarket industry and was won because of the grassroots efforts by many of NGA members from across the country,” NGA said in a statement. “In meetings in Washington, D.C., and back in their home states, independent supermarket owners have personalized the impact that repeal of these pro-competitive reforms would have on their business. We are very pleased to say that independent grocers’ elected officials have listened and responded to their concerns. This is truly a victory for Main Street merchants over Wall Street banks and should send a strong message that debit reforms are here to stay.

“We also commend House leadership for listening to their members by committing to remove this harmful language from the Financial Choice Act and appreciate Chairman Hensarling for working with his members to find a common ground solution. NGA thanks those members of Congress who stood with their local merchants in support of preserving competition and commonsense reforms. NGA will remain vigilant through the rest of the legislative process to ensure language to repeal debit reforms is removed from the bill.”

FMI says it has fiercely opposed efforts to repeal the pro-competitive reform that it reports has saved grocers and consumers billions of dollars and provided enhanced competition since it was enacted in 2010.

“We are thrilled to hear that the House of Representatives decided to maintain the pro-competitive debit reforms that have provided enhanced competition and lower prices since they were enacted in 2010. We are grateful to the many members of Congress who listened intently to their constituents about an incredibly complicated subject—routing and competition in debit card transactions—and understood that competition is critical, that the reforms are working and that they should be maintained,” said FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin.“Our members put a lot of their own shoe-leather into making sure they shared the personal angle of this very complicated policy debate—competition is important in the debit market just as it is in the grocery business.”

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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