This complexity is especially difficult for smaller, independent grocers to understand. Given the remarkably competitive environment we face, the problem of uncontrollable swipe fees can’t be overstated. Grocers can pay as high as 4 percent of a transaction in swipe fees, depending upon the type of credit card used. Often, merchants even lose money, especially on smaller purchases.
While merchants and consumers are willing to pay for the convenience of credit cards, we draw the line at being blatantly ripped off, particularly when our peers around the world are paying much less for the same exact service.
Movement to curtail these unfair fees with debit cards was addressed with the Durbin amendment in 2012, but something must still be done about credit card swipe fees.
Lawmakers need to take action so banks can no longer gouge merchants and consumers by hiking these hidden fees at will. The course needs to be reset with legislation that fundamentally changes the broken marketplace, replacing the banks’ duplicitous price-fixing scheme with competition and transparency, so that consumers save and businesses can reinvest in creating new jobs and help energize our flagging economy.
Peter Larkin is president and CEO of the National Grocers Association.