Retail Grocers Push Lawmakers for Federal Swipe-Fee Reforms

Grocers from across the U.S. have met in Washington to urge lawmakers to expedite implementation of debit card swipe fee reform that was included in the bipartisan Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed by Congress last year.

“Grocery stores make an average profit of less than two cents on the dollar. It’s a very competitive industry,” Leslie G. Sarasin, Food Marketing Institute president and CEO, told Progressive Grocer. “The big banks make more money per transaction from swipe fees than what the store will make in profit. Every month that reform is delayed means $1.3 billion a month in banks and card company pockets,” he added. The Federal Reserve expects to finalize its proposed rule in time to meet the July 21 implementation date set by Congress. Two separate bills have been introduced on Capitol Hill seeking to delay the final rule. “It is imperative that these reforms go into effect this year so Main Street businesses and their customers benefit from a more fair and transparent process,” Sarasin said.

Grocery store owners met with lawmakers, encouraging them to stand up for their businesses and their customers. Debit card interchange swipe fees have continued to increase since the passage of debit card fee reform last summer, and the cost of accepting debit cards is among the fastest growing expenses for small businesses. Uncertainty about debit card swipe fee rates makes it difficult for businesses to plan ahead, budget and make hiring decisions.

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