February 24, 2008

This week Representatives John Conyers (D-MI) and Chris Cannon (R-UT) introduced legislation to address unfair and burdensome credit card interchange fees.  In response to the proposed legislation, the Merchants Payment Coalition (MPC), of which PMAA is a member, issued this statement: “We applaud the legislative efforts by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) and the Senate Judiciary Committee to fix the broken interchange fee market. With about 80 percent market share, Visa and MasterCard operate like price fixing cartels, each monopolist sets ‘take it or leave it’ oppressive credit card interchange fees and rules, and they do so in secret. Their illegal price fixing alone costs our customers more the $350 per household every year, and it is rising. This legislation under consideration would end the practice of anti-competitive rate setting by the credit card industry and give retailers an opportunity to negotiate terms and conditions just as we do with every other business. The only viable alternative to fix this problem is government regulation, which we oppose. 

Retail is all about negotiating to bring value to our customers. Unfortunately, there is no negotiating with the credit card industry.  The proposed legislation would finally bring some competition to this broken market.”