Bipartisan Legislation to Reduce Credit Card ‘Swipe Fees’ Expected


WASHINGTON—Bipartisan legislation will be introduced soon in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives that creates choice for the processing of credit card purchases, according to a story just published in The Wall Street Journal. The legislation to address swipe fees has been championed by NACS and its members for more than two decades. 

The bills endorsed by NACS seek to bring long-overdue competition to the credit card market and addresses the exorbitant swipe fees paid by Americans every year.

The Credit Card Competition Act reportedly will be introduced by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Peter Welch (D-VT) and J.D. Vance (R-OH) and House Members Lance Gooden (R-TX), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Tom Tiffany (R-WI) and Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ). The bills are expected to require the largest U.S. banks that issue Visa or Mastercard credit cards to allow transactions to be processed over at least two unaffiliated card payment networks—the same process that has been used for debit card transactions for more than a decade. 

In the United States, banks that issue Visa and Mastercard credit cards charge a swipe fee that averages 2.25% of the purchase price when the cards are processed over Visa or Mastercard’s networks. These rates are the highest in the world, seven times higher than the average rate in Europe.

Credit and debit card swipe fees have more than doubled over the past decade and are now $160.7 billion a year, according to the Nilson report, which is considered the most trusted source on statistics in the payments industry. These fees cost the average American family more than $1,000 a year.

“Our stores compete every day for consumers’ business—as does every other business in the country. In the broken credit card market, no competition means an open invitation for these large multinational corporations to continually increase rates and to only focus on what benefits them, as opposed to the customer,” said NACS President and CEO Henry Armour.

Armour added that credit card swipe fees for the convenience retailing industry have increased a staggering 82% between 2020 and 2022 and now stand at $19.5 billion.

“Current inflationary prices make the problem of swipe fees even worse. With all of the economic uncertainty Americans face every day, one thing is certain: Swipe fees punish American families more than anyone else. This broken system needs to be fixed now, and we applaud all of the sponsors and cosponsors of this legislation for standing up for what’s right,” said Armour.

NACS members are encouraged to reach out to their Members of Congress and ask that they support the Credit Card Competition Act. NACS makes it easy for retailers and suppliers to send a message to their legislators via the NACS Grassroots Portal.

NACS is a founding member and serves on the Executive Committee of the Merchants Payments Coalition, a coalition comprised of NACS and other merchant groups representing brick-and-mortar and online retailers.