Congress gave retailers a sweetheart deal worth $8 billion annually. So why can’t retailers spare a dime for their customers?
In these uncertain times, why are retailers stealing pennies from the most vulnerable?
Congress gave retailers an $8 billion windfall, but customers haven’t seen a penny.
Through the Durbin amendment, Congress meddled in a debate between retailers and banks over who should pay for the cost of accepting a debit card. When lobbying for unprecedented price controls, retailers promised they would lower prices if they got their way. Well – they did get their way. And you didn’t.
Have you seen lower prices? Have you ever seen a retailer offer you a discount for using a debit card? Repeated studies have shown that retailers are not passing along savings – and have no incentive to do so.
Is anyone really surprised? When Congress picks favorites in an industry debate, consumers never win.
The Durbin amendment was supposed to help consumers. But instead, consumers are now losing things like free checking and valuable rewards programs – and not even getting any reduction at the register to help ease the pain. Consumers were duped.
The Durbin amendment didn’t work. Repeal the Durbin amendment. Support H.R. 3156.
In the News
What the Media is Saying
("Does law hurt or help banks, consumers?," July 10, 2012)The Durbin Amendment began with the best of intentions: it would take an overinflated charge that disproportionately impacts the poor and small businesses, and rein it in to reasonable levels. However, its end effect was to worsen conditions for both groups.
("Retailers, gas stations pocketing money intended for consumers" July 8, 2012)Despite the high cost of gasoline and the fact that debit cards are the most popular form of payment at the pump, gas retailers have yet to make good on promises to pass savings on to consumers. Now would be a good time for them to pitch in.
("Durbin Amendment’s Biggest Winner May Be KKR," July 6, 2012)
Retailers may be minimizing the savings in the hope of not attracting too much attention, which could lead to pressure on them to lower their prices.
("Report: Durbin Amendment "crushing" American businesses," July 2, 2012)The Durbin Amendment has already hurt small and large banks, and it isn’t helping consumers. It should be repealed before it does any more harm to the businesses that rely on them for loans and lines of credit to make payroll, open new locations and hire more employees.
("Adventures with marginal pricing, auto edition," July 2, 2012)Except, gas stations have no particular reason to charge just the interchange fee as a premium. Is the difference 10 cents a gallon? That’s about 3%, which is at the high end of credit interchange fees. After that, it’s all just pure profit for the gas station — and sometimes the difference can be as much as 2 dollars a gallon.
("Two gas prices: Cash and credit. Is this fair?" June 26, 2012)My view: They are the ones offering the credit card transaction — if they don’t like the fees, don’t offer up that payment option, and then let the market decide whether they’re right. My guess is that they’d lose a ton of business, especially for the 64-ounce sodas and other junk food inside, which is where many gas stations really make their bread.
("Finding Shopping Discounts to Cover the Loss of Free Checking is Futile," June 20, 2012)We’re coming up fast on the 9-month mark since new debit-card fee rules went into effect in October. The war between banks and retailers left consumers, including you and I, rather voiceless about the changes the two sides made in response to the legislation. One supposedly positive outcome of the new rules was lower prices. However, I didn’t notice any major savings. And I probably never will.