Merchants group applauds Canadian Bill to rein in interchange fees

Source: Merchant Payments Coalition

The Merchants Payments Coalition applauds a Canadian bill to reform the way banks charge retailers hidden fees every time a customer swipes a credit card at checkout, similar to successful reforms in the European Union and Australia.

American merchants pay the highest “swipe” fees of all the developed countries. These exorbitant fees raise prices of everything consumers buy, even if they don’t use a card, and hurt the poorest consumers most.

A Canadian lawmaker recently introduced legislation to set credit card swipe fees at 0.3 percent of the purchase amount. Proponents say it will save Canadian consumers and merchants billions of dollars and energize the economy.

In December the European Union implemented similar reforms to bring competition and transparency to its market.

In the U.S., meanwhile, American merchants pay up to 4 percent in credit-card swipe fees, or $4 for every $100 spent. That’s a 10,000-percent profit margin, since the transaction costs the bank only a few cents.

“Successful reform measures in the European Union and Australia have exposed the true cost of these hidden fees to both the consumer and the merchant,” said Jennifer Hatcher, senior vice president of government and public affairs at the Food Marketing Institute, a member of the Merchants Payments Coalition.

“We encourage Canadian legislators to expose the cost of these hidden fees and rein them in.”

Swipe fees have swollen into the second-largest operating expense for many American retailers. Some businesses pay more in swipe fees than they earn in profit.

The Merchants Payments Coalition urges Congress to consider the swipe fee reforms implemented in Australia and the European Union and now introduced in Canada as examples to consider in the U.S.

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