ICYMI: Sen. Marshall Hosts Press Conference With Kansas Businesses on Credit Cards Swipe Fees Price Gouging Small Businesses and Fueling Inflation.

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. hosted a press conference on the reintroduction of the bipartisan-bicameral Credit Card Competition Act, legislation that would end price gouging tactics used by big banks and credit card companies through competition, to drive down costs for consumers. Senator Marshall was joined by Senators Peter Welch (D-VT) and J.D. Vance (R-OH); U.S. Representatives Lance Gooden (R-TX) and Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ); Jenny Osner; owner of Hired Man’s Grocery and Grill in Conway Springs, KS; Mike Beal, CFO of Balls Food and Price Chopper and Hen House in Kansas City, KS; and Brad Close, President and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

You may click HERE or on the image above to watch Senator Marshall’s full press conference. 

Highlights from the press conference include: 

Senator Roger Marshall:

“All across America, especially in rural America… we’re losing grocery stores, we’re losing pharmacies, we’re losing hardware stores. And part of it is just the cost of doing business. They’re closing because they’re not profitable. And certainly credit card swipe fees are part of the reasons that they’re not profitable. ”

“I want to put this in perspective, Americans pay seven times more for swipe fees than the EU does. Seven times. So in the EU, the average swipe fee is 0.3%. In America, we’re paying 2% to 4%. So what does that mean to that single mom that I delivered, 15 years ago? It means when she fills up her car with gas, she has a hidden tax there. If gas is $4 a gallon, and she has a 4% swipe fee, you know, she’s paying an extra 16 cents per gallon.” 

“Americans are paying on average $200 more per month in swipe fees than our friends across the pond. You know it’s simply not fair, and it really boils down to just a lack of competition. And what this legislation does, it forces the bank to make a second choice for the router on the credit card. That’s all it does, the bank gets to choose the second option.”

“I want to talk about community banks just for a second, something near and dear to my heart. I’ve been part of a community bank for over 20 years now. We exclude every bank whose assets are under $100 billion. Now, I can’t speak to all the states up here, but there is no community bank in Kansas, no bank in Kansas, with a home docile in Kansas, with that type of an asset. So they are excused.” 

“All we are doing is injecting competition. Capitalism without competition doesn’t work. So that’s what this legislation does. It increases competition, and that should help drive down our swipe fees. Again, our retailers back home are paying more for swipe fees than they do utilities or the cost of health insurance for their folks.”

Jenny Osner, owner of Hired Man’s Grocery and Grill in Conway Springs, KS:

“We built our store from the ground up with the help of many of our family and friends, and it was a labor of love…What we do is we provide that service to a community. We have fresh fruit, we have produce, we have meat that we butcher on site. And all of that helps us to provide for a healthy community.” 

“We’re able to help and provide that healthy food access to keep things going. And if rural grocery stores like ours close, then once again, we’re back into a rural food desert.” 

“One of the big issues that we have when it comes to financing are swipe fees. So every dollar counts, every penny counts in rural grocery. If we can take time and take legislation to help us build up and save money so that we can pass that on to our community members, and our school members, and everyone in our community, our neighbors, it’s a win-win for all of us.”

Mike Beal, CFO of Balls Food in Kansas City, KS:

“We are a third generation, family owned local grocery company, and I’m proud to say that we’re celebrating our 100th year in business this year, something that is not that easy to do in our very competitive industry.”

“We have approximately 3,000 teammates that are dependent on our success for their living and the benefit of their families. Of all foods, we try to keep every cost as low as possible, so that we can always be very competitive with the prices in our stores. That means we negotiate every single day for every single penny for all the products and inventory that we buy, the supplies and the services that we get from third parties, with our landlords, with our banks, everything that we do to keep costs at a minimum.”

“But there’s one place that we can’t negotiate, and that’s with credit card companies. The big card networks, like Visa and MasterCard, centrally price-fix the swipe fees charged by the banks that issue their credit cards, and then the banks pass those fees on to us, which we can do nothing about. It’s take it or leave it. Visa and MasterCard also blocked transactions on their cards from being processed over other networks that could do possibly a better job with lower fees and better security.”

“There is no competition over credit card swipe fees. But the Credit Card Competition Act would fix that by requiring that the nation’s credit card companies and the nation’s largest banks enable a second network on each card. That would force credit card networks to compete over fees, security, and service, and is expected to save businesses ,and expected to save consumers, over $11 billion a year.”

“Between high inflation and high interest rates, small businesses are struggling today more than ever. No matter what we do to keep costs under control and hold down prices for our customers, the credit card companies keep taking their percentage right off the top. But with this legislation, credit card companies will be forced to compete for our business the same as our company competes for the business of our consumers. And I know that our company will pass along the savings from this legislation along to our customers, because if we don’t, the grocery store across the street or around the corner will do so. That’s the nature of good competition.” 

“Fixing the US economy is not easy, but bringing competition to the broken credit card industry is something that can be done today, and a step that will have a major beneficial impact to consumers.” 

Brad Close, NFIB President & CEO:

“I’m here on behalf of NFIB – the National Federation of Independent Business, we represent small businesses all across the country, in all 50 states, and in all industries. Our members are truly small, they are on average five to 10 employees, really the little guys. And to be a member of NFIB you cannot be publicly traded.” 

“One of the unique things about NFIB is that our members set our policy. We don’t sit around a table in Washington and decide what’s best for small business. We ask them, they tell us, and then we go fight for them. And 92% of small business owners said that they want a choice when it comes to processing their credit card transactions. Right now they don’t have that. What they want is a level playing field.”

“For a small business owner, they’ve got to compete every day, not just against local businesses, but oftentimes against their big business competitors, as well as credit card companies. So what they really want is that choice – so that they can decide as owners what’s best for their business.”