We have reached a moment for decisive action in the campaign for fair and transparent interchange fees. The White House has now joined Congress in scrutinizing abusive credit card practices, calling upon card company and bank representatives to explain why fees and rates keep rising with no just cause.
It is critical for the industry to leverage these events and keep interchange in the spotlight. The excessive charges the purveyors of plastic inflict upon consumers are little different from the way they mistreat merchants.
Retailers must keep meeting with their members of Congress to tell your interchange nightmares, how much these hidden fees cost, how they are threatening your economic survival in these hard economic times and how, in the end, all Americans pay — an unfathomable yearly bill nearing $50 billion.
And, most important, we must advocate for the solutions — the legislation to empower retailers to negotiate fair fees and direct the Federal Trade Commission to eliminate unfair credit card company rules. We must support the lawmakers who understand interchange issues and the overwhelming need for reforms. We must recruit others to broaden the bipartisan base we have already created.
FMI will continue to reach out to the White House to bring the Obama administration into our cause for reasonable interchange fees and rules. FMI will keep facilitating meetings between our members and key senators and representatives to expand and maintain their support.
We have built a strong base of advocates for reform in the Judiciary Committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and are also finding allies in the banking committees in both chambers of Congress. In addition, we have reached out to Americans through the media in a multi-pronged communications campaign.
All these efforts in our intense four-year campaign have built momentum, which is now cresting. Let us seize this moment to ensure that fairness prevails.
Leslie G. Sarasin
President and Chief Executive Officer
FOOD MARKETING INSTITUTE