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Despite Retailer Claims, Durbin Amendment Has Harmed Community Banks, Credit Unions and Small Businesses
The Durbin Amendment, a.k.a. “merchant markup,” allows big box retailers to pocket $8 billion dollars a year from customers’ purchases. That’s $32 billion since Congress passed this law and retail groups are looking to increase their merchant markup even more. Additionally, big box retailers are not held to any federal standards to protect their customers, yet 90% of consumers agree they should be held to similar standards as banks and financial institutions when it comes to keeping customer data secure and private. The Data Security Act of 2015 would help protect consumers but retailers are fighting the bill to increase their bottom line. It’s time to put consumers first. Continue Reading
EPC’s latest resource explains how EMV chip cards can help defend against hackers.
While few senators attended the Senate Banking Committee’s hearing on the effects of consumer finance regulations, Senate Democrats blasted Senate Republicans for trying to kneecap the CFPB and questioned one witness’ judgement about the agency at Tuesday’s event. During his opening statement, ranking member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), chided the committee’s Republicans for having forgotten the recent financial crisis and the reasons why the CFPB was developed. He told committee members to resist the collective amnesia in the hearing room and in Congress. Continue Reading
Four out of every five consumers (82%) want to choose what sort of payment technology they can use at the register, according to a new study by Morning Consult. The company surveyed 2,028 registered voters, and 75% said stores should move as quickly as possible to adopt new electronic payment forms that would protect payment information. The respondents also said stores should offer the payment types that customers consider secure (63%) instead of what the retailer wants to use (19%). Continue Reading
Many banks are now issuing customers more secure chip-based credit cards, and most retailers now have card terminals in their checkout lanes that can handle the “dip” of chip-card transactions (as opposed to the usual swipe of the card’s magnetic stripe). But comparatively few retailers actually allow chip transactions: Most are still asking customers to swipe the stripe instead of dip the chip. This post will examine what’s going on here, why so many merchants are holding out on the dip, and where this all leaves consumers. Visa CEO Charles W. Scharf said in an earnings call late last month that more than 750,000 locations representing 17 percent of the U.S. face-to-face card-accepting merchant base are now enabled to handle chip-based transactions, also known as the EMV (“Europay, Mastercard and Visa”) payment standard. Continue Reading
Capping interchange fees has been tried in some countries around the world. Despite claims that these efforts were for the benefit of consumers, the real world results have shown the opposite to be true. In every instance, consumers faced higher fees for banking services, a reduction in benefits and services and saw no return in the form of lower prices from merchants despite promises by merchants and policy makers to pass savings to consumers.
But Sam Fabens, spokesman for the Electronic Payments Coalition, said that while the EMV transition is gradual, it is happening. “There have been more chip cards issued in the U.S. than anywhere in the world,” he said, adding that, “it was designed to be a process.” “In some cases, merchants looked at their risk profile in terms of when to make the transition (to EMV-enabled terminals), and small ones may have decided to wait for natural update,” he said.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., slipped into the monstrous 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill a favor long sought by big-box retailers, such as Wal-Mart. The Durbin amendment, as it is known, imposed price controls on interchange fees for debit cards. Interchange fees are what banks and card issuers charge retailers for processing payments. Many consumers prefer to use cards instead of cash, so it’s advantageous for retailers to provide that as an option.
Parishioners text tithes to their churches. Homeless street vendors carry mobile credit-card readers. Even the Abba Museum, despite being a shrine to the 1970s pop group that wrote “Money, Money, Money,” considers cash so last-century that it does not accept bills and coins. Few places are tilting toward a cashless future as quickly as Sweden, which has become hooked on the convenience of paying by app and plastic.