Financial Reform Legislation Needs Debit-at-Par

Mar 22, 2010, 3:10pm

Robert Johnson, President of Consumers for Competitive Choice (C4CC), released the following statement regarding the Senate Banking Committee’s mark-up of the Restoring Financial Stability Act of 2010, Chairman Dodd’s revised version of financial regulatory reform legislation, scheduled to begin today:

“I am hopeful that the members of the Senate Banking Committee will make a critical fix to Chairman Dodd’s financial regulatory reform bill during the mark-up that begins today, and include a provision that addresses credit card swipe fees – specifically, that establishes debit-at-par. As the Chairman himself has noted, these increasing and excessive fees are outrageous and something needs to be done. The Chairman’s own financial reform bill provides the perfect vehicle to implement commonsense reform now.

“Small business owners across the country are preparing for additional increases to the already hefty debit card swipe fees next month, increases that are not justified in any way. It already costs merchants as much as 43 times as much to process debit cards as it does to process paper checks, even though they work the same way. As long as big banks and credit card companies have access to this unregulated revenue stream, increases like these will continue and more hard-earned American dollars will go to line the pockets of Wall Street executives.

“As the mark-up begins, I hope that the Senate Banking Committee sides with Main Street America. Commonsense reform that includes debit-at-par is a fix that will benefit small business owners and consumers alike.”

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