Today, the House Financial Services Committee reported H.R. 10, the Financial Choice Act. The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) opposes the bill because it includes a provision to repeal debit swipe fee reform.
“As long as H.R. 10 includes a repeal of debit swipe fee reform, NACS urges the House of Representatives to reject it,” said Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations for NACS. “Debit reform has saved consumers and Main Street businesses $40 billion already. It makes no sense for the House to even consider a bill that would take away these pro-competitive, successful reforms.”
All of the Democrats present on the Financial Services Committee opposed the bill, but it was still reported. Even members of the Committee who support the bill have trouble with the debit reform repeal. As he did during a hearing last week, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) gave his view that debit reform has helped the economy in his district and should be preserved. Ross stated, “There is a provision of this bill that I must express my concerns and that is the provision that would repeal debit reform. I’ve heard directly from a broad spectrum of the retail community in my district and even from my manager at Publix Supermarkets in my hometown where I shop, about the need to maintain debit reform.”
The only legitimate economic study of debit reform to date found that consumers and merchants saved $8 billion in the first year of debit reform and that those savings supported more than 37,000 jobs. During the past five years in which the reforms have been in place, the wholesale cost that merchants pay for goods has increased more than twice as much as the retail prices merchants charge. Merchants have been able to protect their customers from most of the cost increases they face, in part due to debit reform.
“As long as debit reform repeal is part of the bill, NACS will do all it can to oppose H.R. 10,” said Beckwith. “We look forward to the entire House of Representatives having the opportunity to vote to take debit reform repeal out of the bill and ensure that consumers and Main Street can continue to enjoy the benefits of a more competitive debit market without returning to price-fixed fees.”