As I read a recent op-ed regarding debit interchange price controls and a possible expansion to credit, I nearly spit out my coffee astonished by retailers’ misrepresentation of the state of play on the issue. In the desperate hope of turning the page, they are calling for Congress and this administration to double down on an anti-free market policy that has hurt low-income consumers, small businesses and small financial institutions — all while enriching retail behemoths. But to splash cold water on the delusions of big retailers, it’s not going to happen.
As the old saying goes, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” In 2010, corporate retailers persuaded Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) to add an amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act, at the last moment with little scrutiny and debate. The provision, known today as the Durbin Amendment, capped interchange fees with the promise that it would lead to a level playing field for smaller retailers and save consumers on the goods they purchased.