Merchants Thank Senators Hawley and Reed For Supporting Small Business and Consumers on Credit Card ‘Swipe’ Fees

Contact: J. Craig Shearman
(202) 257-3678

WASHINGTON, February 14, 2024 – The Merchants Payments Coalition today welcomed the announcement that Senators Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., have become cosponsors of the Credit Card Competition Act.

“This shows that support is growing across the country and across the political spectrum for action that would bring competition to credit card swipe fees,” MPC Executive Committee member and National Grocers Association Chief Government Relations Officer and Counsel Chris Jones said. “These fees drive up prices for American families in every state every day and fixing this broken market is a priority both sides of the aisle can agree on. We thank Senators Hawley and Reed for supporting Main Street businesses and their customers and look forward to working with them to bring fairness to the credit card market.”

Senators Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Roger Marhsall, R-Kan., today announced the addition of Hawley and Reed as cosponsors of the CCCA. The bipartisan pair join Senators Peter Welch, D-Vt., and J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, bringing the number of Senate sponsors to six.

House sponsors of the legislation include Representatives Lance Gooden, R-Texas; Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.; Tom Tiffany, R-Wis.; Jefferson Van Drew, R-N.J.; Max Miller, R-Ohio; Bob Good, R-Va.; James McGovern, D-Mass., and Del. Gregorio Sablan, D-Northern Mariana Islands.

The announcement comes two days after Durbin, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced that he has
invited the CEOs of Visa, Mastercard, United Airlines and American Airlines to testify at an April 9 hearing on lack of competition in the credit card market. The two airlines have criticized the bill, and Durbin said they “have become credit card companies that fly planes.”

Credit and debit card swipe fees – which have risen 50 percent since the pandemic and reached a record $160.7 billion in 2022 – are most merchants’ highest operating cost after labor. The fees are far too high to absorb, especially for small merchants, and drive up consumer prices by over $1,000 a year for the average family.

Visa and Mastercard – which control 80 percent of the market – each centrally set the 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.

Banks would choose which networks to enable but merchants would then choose which to use, resulting in competition over fees, security and service that is expected to save merchants and consumers
over $15 billion a year. Rewards would not be affected, security would be improved, consumers would still use the same cards, and community banks and all but one credit union would be exempt.

About MPC

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.