Electronic Payments Coalition Promises to Continue Fight to Help Debit Card Holders

Today, by a vote of 54-45, the U.S. Senate failed to pass a compromise version of the Debit Interchange Fee Study Act as an amendment of the Economic Development Revitalization Act (S. 782).  The legislation would have required a study into the unintended consequences that will result from debit interchange price caps mandated by the Durbin Amendment to the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank).

“It is stunning that the Senate chose to ignore every major banking regulator who warned that this rule could harm community banks and credit unions – and possibly even result in bank failures at a time when our country can least afford it,” said Trish Wexler, spokesperson for the Electronic Payments Coalition.  “Giant retailers may have protected their $12 billion windfall at the expense of small businesses and debit cardholders across America.  But we will not give up the effort to protect debit card holders from the effects of this ill-conceived legislation.”

The Durbin debit card amendment was added to the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill without a single hearing, study, or review of its potential consequences.  It prevented the Federal Reserve from considering these issues and strictly limited its discretion.  As currently proposed the Fed rule ignores whole segments of costs associated with facilitating debit transactions.  Since proposing the rule, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair have both raised serious doubts about the rule; and specifically about the effectiveness of the so-called “carve out” for community banks and credit unions.  Over 11,000 comments were submitted to the Federal Reserve expressing similar concerns, and hundreds of thousands of debit card holders contacted their members of Congress in support of the additional review.

About the Electronic Payments Coalition

The Electronic Payments Coalition (EPC) includes credit unions, banks, and payment card networks that move electronic payments quickly and securely between millions of merchants and millions of consumers across the globe. EPC’s goal is to protect the value, innovation, convenience and competition in today’s growing electronic payments system. EPC educates policymakers, consumers and the media on the system’s role in economic growth, and the importance of protecting consumer choice and stability for the continued growth of global commerce.

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