Retailers Oppose Delay in Debit-Fee Reform

WASHINGTON — Retail groups on Tuesday said they were opposed to a proposal to delay the debit-card fee legislation that is supposed to go into effect this year.

WASHINGTON — Retail groups on Tuesday said they were opposed to a proposal to delay the debit-card fee legislation that is supposed to go into effect this year.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., along with other senators from both parties, introduced a bill that would delay implementation of the debit-fee reforms for two years. The Federal Reserve is expected to finalize its proposed rules for implementing the provision in April, but banks have mounted strong opposition to the Fed's proposal of capping fees at 12 cents per transaction, vs. the current average of 44 cents per transaction.

"The National Grocers Association is disappointed that a group of senators has chosen to side with the big Wall Street banks over Main Street businesses and urges the Senate to reject efforts to pass this legislation," said Peter J. Larkin [3], president and chief executive officer, NGA. "The same big banks that received billions in taxpayer bailouts are now asking Congress to support another bailout by trying to delay and kill a rule to reform anticompetitive debit swipe fees before it's even written."

Food Marketing Institute also said it was "disappointed" with the bill, dubbed the Debit Interchange Fee Study Act.

"Interfering with the process even before the final rule is written is nothing more than pandering to the giant banks," said Jennifer Hatcher, senior vice president of government and public affairs at FMI.