WASHINGTON, DC – October 1, 2014, marks the third anniversary of the implementation of the Durbin amendment, a piece of legislation that was masked as reform, but was nothing more than an $8 billion annual windfall for retailers. While retailers promised they would pass along savings to consumers – savings that now amount to over $24 billion for retailers – a new survey shows that 94% of consumers have seen prices that have increased or remained the same over the past three years.
This survey, conducted in September 2014 by Phoenix Marketing International and sponsored by the Electronic Payments Coalition, asked 3,400 consumers about price changes they have observed at a variety of retailers. The research shows that 94% of consumers have seen prices increase or remain the same in the 16 individual point-of-sale categories measured in the survey, and a majority of consumers have seen prices increase at pharmacies, home improvement stores, supermarkets, restaurants and gas stations, among other industries. Furthermore, some 16% of consumers report that some retailers are even imposing surcharges on debit purchases.
“These survey results clearly demonstrate that most consumers have not experienced lower prices at the register, which was the consumer promise of the Durbin Amendment,” said Greg Weed of Phoenix Marketing International, who led the study. “Moreover, the research over the last three years shows that most Americans don’t buy into the premise of the Durbin Amendment – that retailers would lower prices as a direct result of interchange fee savings. So, from the consumer standpoint, neither the promise nor premise of the Durbin Amendment has really panned out.”
While Congress was considering the Durbin amendment, retailers claimed that imposing government price controls on debit interchange fees would directly benefit consumers. Today’s research undercuts this claim, showing scant evidence that consumers are benefiting from the Durbin amendment – and in some cases, prices are actually on the rise.
“When Congress interferes in a fight between two industries over who pays what, it is almost always consumers who lose,” said Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America. “The Durbin amendment is a perfect example of this: consumers foot the bill, while retailers keep their windfall.”
Passed as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the Durbin amendment capped the amount that retailers pay to accept debit cards. Since it went into effect in October 2011, this law has saved retailers $8 billion each year, adding up to $24 billion after three years.
“With a wink and a nod, giant retailers promised to lower prices for their customers if Congress passed the Durbin amendment,” said Sam Fabens, spokesperson for the Electronic Payments Coalition. “Today’s research is proof positive that this was all just a political charade, and an excuse for retailers to ask Congress for a handout worth billions of dollars.”
To learn more about this research, the impact of the Durbin amendment and ways consumers can demand their debit discount, visit www.WheresMyDebitDiscount.com
About the Electronic Payments Coalition
The Electronic Payments Coalition (EPC) includes credit unions, banks, and payment card networks that move electronic payments quickly and securely between millions of merchants and millions of consumers across the globe. EPC’s goal is to protect the value, innovation, convenience and competition in today’s growing electronic payments system. EPC educates policymakers, consumers and the media on the system’s role in economic growth, and the importance of protecting consumer choice and stability for the continued growth of global commerce.