National Retail Federation states delay of credit card swipe fee increase should be permanent

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The National Retail Federation (NRF) maintains the Visa and Mastercard delay of an estimated $1.2 billion increase in credit card swipe fees should be made permanent.

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“The last thing retailers needed in the middle of a pandemic was higher credit card swipe fees,” NRF Vice President for Government Relations, Banking and Financial Services Leon Buck said. “We’re glad to see this delayed, but the increase should really be canceled altogether. This increase would have hit virtually all merchants at a time when they could least afford it, and we were particularly concerned by higher fees for online transactions when so many retailers have relied on ecommerce to get through COVID-19.”

Buck said the only positive that has surfaced regarding the increase is focused attention of Congress on the market power of Visa and Mastercard.

The credit card companies recently indicated they are delaying a restructuring of credit card swipe fees slated to take effect in April by one year, to April 2022. The plan included higher fees for the card networks’ most prominent programs and many online transactions.

The payments consulting firm CMSPI estimated increases of $768 million a year for Visa and $383 million for Mastercard.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) previously asked Visa and Mastercard to cancel the increases, officials said, adding the action would adversely impact economic recovery efforts.

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