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NRF continues fight for swipe fee reform

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation Wednesday said that legislation introduced in the House to repeal debit card swipe fee reform would cost consumers more than $6 billion a year in savings that merchants plan to pass along to their customers.

“This misguided legislation would take billions of dollars in savings away from American consumers,” NRF SVP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. “The banks tried to stop this law from being passed, they tried to delay it once it was passed, and they managed to water down the amount merchants and consumers will save. Now that it’s just barely taken effect, they are trying to repeal it before anyone can benefit. Congress needs to stop doing the bidding of the banks and think about the people who paid for the bank bailout not so long ago – consumers and Main Street merchants.”

Representatives Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Bill Owens, D-N.Y., Wednesday announced plans to introduce legislation that would repeal debit card swipe fee reform regulations that took effect on Oct. 1. The regulations, set by the Federal Reserve under last year’s Wall Street reform law, capped debit card swipe fees charged by the nation’s largest banks at about 21 cents, down from an average 44 cents. Analysts have estimated that the cap will save merchants and their customers more than $6 billion a year, according to NRF.

NRF said merchants are planning a wide range of ways to use the savings to increase value for their customers, such as overall lower prices, specific discounts for using debit cards, free or lower-cost delivery on appliances, free alterations on clothing, or hiring additional staff to improve customer service.

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