Sen. Marshall Reintroduces Bipartisan Credit Card Swipe Fee Legislation, Standing With Main Street Over Wall Street
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. reintroduced the Credit Card Competition Act, bipartisan and bicameral legislation alongside U.S. Sen. Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT), and Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH). This legislation aims to increase competition to end the Visa and Mastercard duopoly that is price gouging small businesses and, by extension, consumers.
Visa and Mastercard control over 80% of the credit card market and will not negotiate with Main Street merchants. In April of 2022, Visa and Mastercard increased swipe fees by almost $1.2 billion a year, ignoring bipartisan asks from Congress and Main Street businesses and consumers. It cannot be understated the impacts these added fees are having on Consumers who ultimately pay for all of these fees in the price of the goods and services they buy.
“When it comes to Main Street vs. Wall Street, I’ll stand with Main Street businesses, who are the backbone of our economy, every single time,” said Senator Marshall. “At a time of economic uncertainty and skyrocketing inflation, these credit card companies are increasing their hidden swipe fees and price gouging small businesses and consumers. Our legislation would rein in the big banks and the credit card industry, drive down costs for convenience stores, gas stations, and other small businesses, and ultimately pass those savings down to consumers. This legislation is the right thing to do, and I am proud to reintroduce it with bicameral, bipartisan support.”
“Credit card swipe fees inflate the prices that consumers pay for groceries and gas. It’s time to inject real competition into the credit card network market, which is dominated by the Visa-Mastercard duopoly,” said Senator Durbin. “This legislation, which builds upon pro-competition reforms Congress enacted in 2010, would give small businesses a meaningful choice when it comes to card networks, and it would enable innovators to gain a foothold in credit cards. Bringing real competition to credit card networks will help reduce swipe fees and hold down costs for Main Street merchants and their customers.”
“Interchange fees put a brutal strain on our small businesses, but because of the Visa-Mastercard duopoly in the credit card network market, Main Street businesses have no choice but to pay these crushing fees or risk going under,” said Senator Welch. “The Credit Card Competition Act will restore choice and competition in the credit card network market, helping to bring down costs for small businesses and making it easier for these essential businesses to thrive.”
“Working families all over Ohio are getting crushed by inflation every time they go to the grocery store or fill up on gas. Meanwhile, two massive companies have a stranglehold on credit card swipe fees and are increasing the costs of these everyday essentials,” said Vance. “This legislation will increase competition in the American economy and drive down prices for consumers.”
“Large credit card firms have consistently demonstrated prioritizing self-interest over our constituents,” said Congressman Gooden. “The Credit Card Competition Act serves to address this imbalance and restore a healthy, competitive free market that operates in the interest of consumers.”
“Right now, our country’s credit card landscape does not reflect a competitive market, with just two major credit card companies setting prices for the nation’s largest banks. The current system harms consumers and small businesses. Our Credit Card Competition Act changes that by fostering competition. Like when Congress enacted an alternate network option for debt cards, this reform will increase incentives for innovation, enhance payment security, and, most importantly, ease burdensome fees by allowing for credit card choice,” said Congresswoman Lofgren.
“As a business owner for more than 40 years in Eastern Kansas, my fastest growing operating expense is credit card swipe fees. It’s the only cost I am powerless to negotiate, beholden to whatever Visa and Mastercard set as the fees. That’s why I’m grateful for the leadership of Doc Marshall in standing up for Kansas businesses by introducing the Credit Card Competition Act. This legislation will finally ensure Visa and Mastercard have to compete for my business, just like I have to compete for my customer’s,” said Gratz Peters, President of Pete’s Corp.
“I am pleased to offer my strong support for the Credit Card Competition Act on behalf of every AWG family run grocery store in Kansas and across the nation. These families work hard every day to ensure that they can provide a source of affordable, safe food in their communities. Senator Marshall’s legislation provides a valuable boost toward their efforts – keeping Kansas dollars in Kansas.” said David Smith, President and CEO, Associated Wholesale Grocers in Kansas City, Kansas
“Due to a lack of competition, credit card companies have been able to exponentially increase hidden processing fees over the last decade. These fees are most retailers’ highest business expense after labor and rent. By requiring more than one network option on credit cards, the Credit Card Competition Act would foster competition and transparency in the credit card market so that card networks would have to compete for business on fees and terms – just as we compete for our customers’ business,” Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO, FMI – The Food Industry Association.
Under the Credit Card Competition Act, the Federal Reserve would issue regulations, within one year, ensuring that banks in four-party card systems that have assets of over $100 billion cannot restrict the number of networks on which an electronic credit transaction may be processed to less than two unaffiliated networks, at least one of which must be outside of the top two largest networks. This would inject real competition into the credit card market—opening the door for new market entrants such as current debit-only networks, encouraging innovation and enhanced security, creating backup options if a network crashes, and exerting competitive constraints on Visa and Mastercard’s fee rates.
The Credit Card Competition Act is supported by organizations including the American Beverage Licensees, Armed Forces Marketing Council, Energy Marketers of America, FMI, Hispanic Leadership Fund, International Franchise Association, National Association of College Stores, National Association of Convenience Stores, National Association of Theater Owners, National Grocers Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, National Wildlife Refuge Association, NATSO, NFIB, Retail Industry Leaders Association, SIGMA, U.S. PIRG, and over 200 state and regional business associations.