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|Thursday, June 11, 2009||09:42|
The National Restaurant Association today announced support for the bipartisan Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2009 introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). The bill would allow restaurants and other businesses to negotiate as a group to set a fair interchange fee with credit card companies and banks. An interchange fee is collectively set by Visa® and MasterCard's® member banks and is a percentage of each transaction, sometimes accompanied by a flat fee that banks collect from retailers every time a credit or debit card is used to pay for a purchase, adding up to billions of dollars each year.
"We applaud Senator Durbin for taking a stand against the unfair practice of credit card companies and member banks setting an interchange or 'swipe' fee with zero transparency or negotiation with merchants," said Beth Johnson, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association. "Senator Durbin has been a tireless advocate for interchange fee reform, and we appreciate his commitment to the issue. Restaurateurs want a more fair process when it comes to these excessive transaction fees. The Credit Card Fair Fee Act would allow for a fair process, and cut costs for consumers and retailers."
American consumers pay among the highest swipe fees in the industrialized world. An average of $2 out of every $100 spent using a credit card goes to swipe fees. For many businesses, swipe fees are now their highest non-labor cost, outpacing even health care. Americans are now paying triple the amount in swipe fees they paid in 2001, reaching $48 billion last year alone.
In 2006, the National Restaurant Association joined a number of other trade associations and companies as a named plaintiff in an anti-trust lawsuit against Visa® and MasterCard® and member banks. The plaintiffs state in their complaint that their claims are essentially based on credit card companies and banks setting credit card interchange fees in secret. The fees cannot be negotiated and are not adequately explained or disclosed to merchants or consumers. Currently, the litigation is in the pre-trial discovery stage and will most likely not be resolved for several years, given the lengthy anti-trust litigation process.
The National Restaurant Association is also a member of the Merchants Payments Coalition, a group of retailers, supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, fuel stations, on-line merchants and other businesses who are fighting against unfair credit card fees and fighting for a more competitive and transparent card system that works better for consumers and merchants alike. The coalition’s member associations collectively represent about 2.7 million stores with approximately 50 million employees.
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which is comprised of 945,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 13 million employees. Together with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence, and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve. For more information, visit our Web site at www.restaurant.org.
|Company: National Restaurant Association|
|Address: 1200 17th St., NW - 20036 Washington DC|
|Country: UNITED STATES|
|Phone: +1 (202)-973-3677|
|Fax: +1 (202)-973-3961|