A group representing U.S. retailers joined members of Congress this week asking the major card networks to stop scheduled interchange increases as the country grapples with rising prices due to inflation spikes. The fees would make accepting card payments both in physical stores and online more expensive for merchants, who would likely have to pass those costs on to consumers.
Last week, Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), along with Representatives Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) sent a letter to the CEOs of Mastercard and Visa strongly urging them to abandon plans for the rate hike, citing spiraling inflation and a “duopoly” whose power results in rate increases merchants and consumers are forced to accept.
“These fees, most of which are interchange fees, are deducted out of transaction amounts for credit and debit card purchases and are ultimately borne by consumers in the form of higher prices for goods and services,” the lawmakers wrote. “Raising your interchange fee rates even higher will undoubtedly increase the already high costs consumers are facing and add to inflationary pressures, which is the last thing American families deserve right now.”
The National Retail Federation (NRF) this week echoed the bipartisan message in the most recent chapter of the long-running battle over the cost of accepting payment cards.
“Senators and representatives from both sides of the aisle coming together to address this issue shows that Congress recognizes the impact these fees are having on the small businesses and consumers they represent,” said Leon Buck, vice president for Government Relations, Banking and Financial Services at the NRF. “These fees drive up prices for consumers and affect shoppers in every congressional district and state in the country. We stand with lawmakers who are willing to take the side of Main Street over Wall Street.”