The interchange reforms are a strong step toward transparency and competition and our industry is confident that the families in the communities we serve have much to gain in the way of discounts and better benefits when shopping in our stores with these reforms in place.

Consumers have been paying more than $50 billion a year in hidden interchange fees to credit card companies and banks — $20 billion of that in debit card interchange fees alone.

Interchange fees are collected by banks and credit card companies each time a customer uses a credit or debit card to make a purchase, and ultimately these fees lead to higher prices for all consumers. Since theses fees are hidden, consumers are unaware of the costs associated with their cards.

Interchange fees represent the fastest growing expense of many of our retail members and the only one over which we have zero control. The fees on debit card transactions increased over 30 percent just this past April, and there will be another increase next month. There is no rhyme or reason behind these increases, especially on a debit card that accesses a customer’s checking account just like a paper check and where no loan is being made.

Grocers operate on margins of 1 to 2 percent, and swipe fees can cost more than 2 percent of a transaction. You do the math: It hurts! For many business owners, this means the big banks actually make MORE money off swipe fees at their businesses than the owners do in profits. That's not right, and this bill will help fix that.

The interchange swipe fee provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will enhance transparency and competition in the marketplace, and will give merchants the ability to more efficiently plan their operational costs for the benefit of their customers.

FMI is grateful to the members of Congress who sponsored interchange fee legislation and advanced this measure, including the amendment’s author, Sen. Richard DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday MORE (D-Ill.), who also introduced the Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2009 (S. 1212), which empowers retailers to negotiate these and related fees with credit card companies and banks; and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Reps. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchTrump talks tough but little action seen on drug prices Frustrated with Trump, Dems introduce drug pricing bill Lawmakers try again on miners’ pension bill MORE (D-Vt.), who introduced the companion legislation in the House as well as the Credit Card Interchange Fees Act.

With interchange reforms in the financial reform bill, merchants win, consumers win and the U.S. economy wins.

The Food Marketing Institute has represented the voices of more than 26,000 supermarkets to in negotiating swipe fees. FMI is a founding member of the Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC), a group of nearly 100 associations representing retailers, supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, fuel stations, online merchants and other businesses that accept debit and credit cards.