By Matt Foley
Senior Manager of Government Relations
The debit swipe fee reforms that took effect six years ago as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act have accomplished exactly what they were supposed to. They’ve brought transparency and competition to a marketplace historically void of it by preventing Big Banks from price fixing interchange fees.
In fact, consumers and small business have saved nearly $50 billion and an estimated 225,000 jobs are still around because of the reforms, according to a study by prominent economist Robert Shapiro. That’s big news for the independent supermarket industry. Debit swipe fees are the second largest cost for independent grocers after labor and the only one they’re unable to control. In other words, they’re largely at the mercy of the banks.
Congress recently reaffirmed its bipartisan support for debit reform by defeating the banks’ attempt to repeal it, which would have increased debit swipe fees by a staggering 200 percent despite American businesses already paying the world’s highest swipe fees.
Independent grocers played a big role in defeating attempts to repeal these reforms, with more than 300 independent supermarkets and state trade associations voicing concern to lawmakers over the negative impact that a repeal would have on their day-to-day operations and their company’s bottom line.
During the supermarket industry’s annual Day in Washington, more than 200 grocers rallied on Capitol Hill at the same time as the House Financial Services Committee marked up a bill that included a provision to dismantle debit swipe fee reforms. Ultimately, House leadership removed this harmful language after retailers—including independent grocers—shared how it would affect day to-day-operations and bottom lines.
Now, six years later, the billions of dollars saved and jobs protected remind serve as an important reminder why we fought so hard to preserve debit swipe fee reform.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Matt Foley, senior manager of government relations, via email at MFoley@nationalgrocers.org.