July 18, 2023
WASHINGTON – The Merchants Payments Coalition announced today that the Asian American Hotel Owners Association has joined the coalition, adding to the ranks of merchant groups fighting for a competitive market for credit card “swipe” fees.
“Swipe fees drive up costs for every business that accepts credit cards, and small businesses like independent and branded hotels are hit the hardest,” MPC Executive Committee member and National Association of Convenience Stores General Counsel Doug Kantor said. “AAHOA members know the impact of these rising fees on their businesses and their customers, and we’re glad to have them by our side. Along with our existing member associations, adding hotels helps show Congress the wide range of industries that are affected by swipe fees and the need to take action to bring competition to the broken swipe fee market.”
“With the vast majority of hotel rooms paid for with credit cards, our members see the impact of high swipe fees every day,” AAHOA President and CEO Laura Lee Blake said. “As hotels tend to have higher transaction values compared to many other businesses such as retail or restaurants, the percentage-based fee structure can result in substantial fees for each transaction. This can significantly impact the overall costs for hotels and guests, especially for high-value bookings. Card networks and banks need to compete over swipe fees the same way hotels compete for business every day.”
AAHOA represents nearly 20,000 hotel owners operating more than 34,000 hotels, or 60 percent of the U.S. total, generating $139 billion in annual hotel sales. At the average swipe fee rate of 2.24 percent, that would result in approximately $3.1 billion in swipe fees each year if all rooms were paid for by credit card.
Current MPC members include the American Beverage Licensees, the American Booksellers Association, the Coalition of Franchisee Associations, FMI – the Food Industry Association, the Energy Marketers of America, the Independent Restaurant Coalition, the Institute for Local Self Reliance’s Independent Business Initiative, the International Franchise Association, the Merchant Advisory Group, the National Association of College Stores, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Association of Theater Owners, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the National Grocers Association, the National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association, the National Retail Federation, the National Restaurant Association, the National Sporting Goods Association and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.
The addition of AAHOA comes as Congress is considering the Credit Card Competition Act, which was reintroduced last month by Senators Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; Roger Marshall, R-Kan.; Peter Welch, D-Vt., and J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, and by Representatives Lance Gooden, R-Texas; Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.; Thomas Tiffany, R-Wis., and Jefferson Van Drew, R-N.J.
Visa and Mastercard – which control more than 80 percent of the market – currently price-fix swipe fees charged by banks that issue cards under their brands, and also block transactions from being processed over other networks that could do the job with lower fees and better security. The legislation would require banks with at least $100 billion in assets to enable cards they issue to be processed over at least two unaffiliated networks – Visa or Mastercard plus a competitor like NYCE, Star or Shazam. That would make networks compete over fees, security and service and is expected to save merchants and their customers $15 billion a year.
Credit and debit card swipe fees have more than doubled over the past decade and soared $22 billion last year to a record $160.7 billion. The fees are most merchants’ highest operating cost after labor and drive up prices by more than $1,000 a year for the average family.
The Merchants Payments Coalition represents retailers, supermarkets, convenience stores, gasoline stations, online merchants and others fighting for a more competitive and transparent card system that is fair to consumers and merchants. Follow MPC on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn for the latest on swipe fees.
AAHOA is the largest hotel owners association in the nation, with member-owned properties representing a significant part of the U.S. economy. AAHOA’s 20,000 members own 60% of the hotels in the United States and are responsible for 1.7% of the nation’s GDP. More than one million employees work at AAHOA member-owned hotels, earning $47 billion annually, and member-owned hotels support 4.2 million U.S. jobs across all sectors of the hospitality industry. AAHOA’s mission is to advance and protect the business interests of hotel owners through advocacy, industry leadership, professional development, member benefits and community engagement.