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National Restaurant Association - NRA's Sweeney talks swipe fees in Chicago Trib op-ed

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NRA's Sweeney talks swipe fees in Chicago Trib op-ed

The National Restaurant Association, while applauding passage of the Dodd-Frank financial services reform bill, which would reduce debit-card swipe fees for some merchants by more than 50 percent when the law takes effect Oct. 1, said it remains disappointed those fees will be capped at 21 cents per transaction, higher than the Federal Reserve's initially proposed 12 cents per transaction.

The remarks, featured in an op-ed article in the Aug. 28 edition of the Chicago Tribune, were written by Dawn Sweeney, president and chief executive of the Washington, D.C.-based NRA.

Sweeney said the NRA is grateful for the efforts of Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who sponsored the Dodd-Frank bill's amendment that would limit how much banks and card companies can charge in swipe fees to restaurants and other small businesses. She added that the association was particularly thankful for Durbin's support when the banks and card companies tried vigorously to kill the legislation earlier this year.

"Restaurateurs know there is no such thing as a free lunch; we don't want something for nothing," she wrote. "Paying a fee for card transactions is fair. Banks and debit-card companies are protecting their customers' assets, and we respect that. After all, their customers are ours, too. We just want to see those fees reflect a fair cost of service rather than one set by a virtual duopoly."

Even though the 21-cent charge per transaction is more than the association would have liked for the final rule, Sweeney wrote it would still produce savings for many restaurant operators that would have a positive effect on the industry going forward.

To read Sweeney's entire op-ed article, visit http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0828-outside-opinion-restauran20110828,0,3214854.story.

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