WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers are pushing to pass the Credit Card Competition Act, which they say would cut credit card swipe fees.
From groceries to gas, any time you use a credit card there’s a swipe fee.
Visa and Mastercard own around 80% of the U.S. credit card network. Senators Dick Durbin and Roger Marshall say they’re taking advantage of their size to make tens of billions of dollars on the swipe fees each year.
“Every time you swipe your card, every time, the Visa Mastercard duopoly and wall street mega banks line their pockets,” Marshall said.
“Merchants have no choice but to accept these outrageous fees if they want to have credit cards used by their customers,” Durbin said.
The lawmakers are working across the aisle to try to pass the Credit Card Competition Act. The bill would make large banks use at least one credit card network outside of Visa or Mastercard.
“Our legislation forces Visa and Mastercard to come to the table and compete with other companies in the industry. In doing so we will drive down the cost for merchants and consumers,” Marshall said.
Opponents say the change will come with consequences for customers.
Richard Hunt runs the Electronic Payments Coalition, which represents the interests of payment card networks and big banks. He says this is a bad bill.
“Americans will have less access to credit, reward points would be eliminated, and safety and soundness of the American payment system would be jeopardized,” Hunt said.
He says that while credit card companies pass on their swipe fee profits through reward points, businesses wouldn’t. Ultimately, he argues that would hurt buyers.
“They rely on their points to reduce their costs at grocery stores and gas stations. Merchants want to pocket the money, they’d never return it to the consumer,” Hunt said.
He calls the legislation clear government overreach.
“Congress does not know best about how to run American companies,” Hunt said.
The Senate could vote on the bill as soon as this week.