News Room

FMI Files Joint-Merchant Petition with Supreme Court to Challenge Federal Reserve Swipe Fee Rule

August 18, 2014
AUGUST 18, 2014 – WASHINGTON, DC – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) today filed a joint-merchant petition with the Supreme Court of the United States seeking its review of the March 2014 swipe fee decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which was the antithesis of Judge Richard Leon’s U.S. District Court decision last summer. The final outcome of the swipe fee rule will have a significant economic impact to the roughly eight million merchant locations that accept debit cards for payment in the U.S. and the millions of customers who use debit cards 100 million times each day.

Earlier this year, the D.C. Circuit largely upheld the Federal Reserve’s debit card rule and network non-exclusivity rule, reversing the decision of the U.S. District Court that was consistent with the views of the merchant community. FMI and the other plaintiff-petitioner merchant groups argue that the final rule is inconsistent with the clear direction provided by Congress and allows banks to charge American merchants and consumers twice as much as the proposed rule.

In the petition, filed in conjunction with NACS, National Retail Federation, Miller Oil, Inc., Boscov’s Department Store, LLC, and National Restaurant Association, the merchant groups assert that this case is so significant to the U.S. economy, merchants and consumers and was seen by two different judicial bodies in such contrasting ways that it deserves the review of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said, “Congress originally passed a law that was designed to lower swipe fees paid by customers and merchants, but the final Federal Reserve rule disregarded the legislative language and actually raised rates on many transactions.  Our food retailers and wholesalers consistently serve their customers based on a simple merchandising strategy – low markups and high volume – and these excessive swipe fees exceed the industry’s one-percent net profit on shoppers’ orders.

“We urge the Supreme Court to agree to hear this case recognizing that the Fed’s rule has a significant impact on anyone who uses or accepts a debit card, including shoppers, merchants of all sizes and any other non-merchant entity responsible for the 50 billion debit card transactions each year.”

Food Marketing Institute proudly advocates on behalf of the food retail industry. FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion. Through programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations, FMI offers resources and provides valuable benefits to more than 1,225 food retail and wholesale member companies in the United States and around the world. FMI membership covers the spectrum of diverse venues where food is sold, including single owner grocery stores, large multi-store supermarket chains and mixed retail stores. For more information, visit www.fmi.org and for information regarding the FMI foundation, visit www.fmifoundation.org

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