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National Restaurant Association - Restaurateurs, other merchants tell Congress: Don't believe banks' bogus arguments on debit card ref

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Restaurateurs, other merchants tell Congress: Don't believe banks' bogus arguments on debit card reform

The National Restaurant Association and organizations representing millions of American businesses told Congress Oct. 6 that the nation's merchants welcome the long-needed reforms in debit-card swipe fees that took effect Oct. 1 -- and that banks and card companies are unfairly blaming the reforms as they raise fees on card-using customers.

Restaurants and other businesses pay debit-card interchange, or swipe, fees each time guests pay by debit card.

After years of complaints from merchants about constant and arbitrary increases in debit-card swipe fees, Congress passed the NRA-supported Durbin Amendment in 2010. The measure led to the nation's first cap on debit-card interchange fees. The new rules took effect Oct. 1. The cap on debit-card swipe fees is now 21 cents per transaction, plus 0.05 percent of the transaction amount and an extra amount if banks implement certain security measures. Before the Oct. 1 cap took effect, swipe fees on debit-card transactions averaged 44 cents per transaction.

The National Restaurant Association, as a leading member of the Merchants Payments Coalition, Oct. 6 sent a letter to members of Congress to set the record straight and show the positive impact of debit-card swipe-fee reform.

“Our message today is simple: Don’t fall prey to bogus arguments about the impact of the debit reforms. The banks have been self-serving in providing inaccurate information about their own rates (which now show advantages for small banks), and they similarly allege that retail isn’t price-competitive.  It’s time to face the facts that debit reform is good for consumers, small business and the U.S. economy,” write the Merchants Payment Coalition members.

The full letter can be read here.

Get more information on what the reforms mean for your restaurant business.

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