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Friday, September 21, 2012

ABA to Congress: End Interchange Fees Debate

ABA urged Congress to end the debate over interchange fees and financial support of the payments system by rejecting calls from some retail groups to impose even more government price controls that hurt consumers.

ABA was responding to a Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) letter sent to Congress this week. RILA said the card industry and retailers’ July settlement of an antitrust lawsuit providing more than $7.2 billion in payments to about 7 million merchants was not enough, and it implored Congress to impose further price controls.

ABA President and CEO Frank Keating said in a letter to House and Senate leaders,
In truth, nothing is ever enough for some in the retail community and their desire to enjoy the benefits of our nation’s truly efficient payments system without ever having to pay for it. It is time for the Congress to say enough is enough.
Keating noted that more than two years after the Durbin amendment’s enactment its net effect has been increased profits for big-box retailers, higher costs for small merchants, significant reductions in revenue available for banks to serve local communities, and no sign of the lower retail prices consumers were promised.
We do not believe it is in the interest of policymakers or the consumers they represent to repeat the mistakes of the past by expanding price controls to more aspects of our economy. Policymakers from both ends of the political spectrum have expressed their support for the settlement as the appropriate means to resolve this dispute. We strongly agree.
Read ABA’s letter.

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