Giving Credit | NACS Online – Magazine – Past Issues – 2010 – June 2010
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Giving Credit

At 6:31 pm on May 13, 2010, the United States Senate voted 64 to 33 to accept Senator Richard Durbin's (DIL) amendment on debit and credit interchange swipe fees.

The amendment would:

  • Require the U.S. Federal Reserve to set an interchange rate for debit transactions that is "fair and reasonable" in relationship to the actual cost to process them.
  • Allow merchants to favor one card brand over another. For example, if Credit Card A decided to cut their interchange rate in half, merchants could incentivize consumers to use that brand. This will achieve our long-standing goal of creating some competitive forces between card brands vis-Ã-vis their interchange rates.
  • Allow merchants to set minimum purchase amounts for credit transactions. You still won't be able to set minimums for debit transactions, but if the Fed does its job per bullet #1, that won't matter.

This was a huge vote, and not many people gave us a chance -- especially when several senators required the vote to pass the 60-vote threshold. Really, nobody, especially the banks and credit card companies, thought we had a chance. This industry has never had a prouder day flexing its grassroots muscle. Your calls, letters and petitions worked!

This was an extremely difficult vote for senators to make, as the banks and credit unions lobbied intensely against it. While the battle is not over and we still need to clear it through the House of Representatives, it is vitally important that we take the time to thank the senators who stood up for Main Street and voted for the Durbin Amendment. Please do whatever you can to express your thanks to the senators who voted "Aye." They deserve the credit