Visa Inc. Statement: Senate Passage of S. 3217

May 20, 2010, 11:11pm

The following is a statement from Visa Inc. in response to Senate passage of S. 3217:

“We are disappointed that legislation intended to make our financial system safer and fairer for consumers includes an irresponsible and anti-consumer amendment offered by Senator Durbin. Adopted with no debate or review of facts, the amendment allows retailers’ to shift their cost for accepting debit cards onto the backs of consumers while they continue to receive the value of electronic payments – including faster check-outs, ticket lift and guaranteed payment.

“Written and backed by lobbyists representing the nation’s largest retailers, the Durbin amendment could significantly harm consumers. Consumers could have less choice, higher costs and could experience an increase in costs for checking accounts and online banking fees and reduced debit card benefits like fraud protection and rewards. Those who rely on prepaid cards for government disbursement, such as child support, could be particularly hard hit.

“For financial institutions, this amendment could force them to reduce or eliminate valuable debit and checking account services and could especially harm community banks and credit unions that depend on interchange to offer competitive banking services to firefighters, police officers, teachers, veterans, congressional staffers and other customers.

“The Durbin amendment also gives retailers the power to set arbitrary, minimum purchase requirements for consumers choosing to pay with plastic. This means that customers who want to buy a gallon of milk or loaf of bread could be forced to buy more unnecessarily if they use electronic payments at the register. This could be especially devastating for those on a fixed income who rely on prepaid cards for government disbursements such as social security.

“The Durbin amendment is not germane to the overall Financial Reform bill legislation. We hope Congress sees the amendment for what it is – an attempt by retailers to increase their profits at the expense of consumers.”