Arlington, VA – Today, FMI – The Food Industry Association board member and President, CEO and Executive Chair of Giant Eagle, Inc. Laura Karet testified during a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Excessive Swipe Fees and Barriers to Competition in the Credit and Debit Card Systems.” In her testimony, Karet highlighted the impact of swipe fees on her business as well as the broader food retail industry and stressed the need for increased competition in the credit card market.

Karet stated, “On April 22, 2022, both Visa and Mastercard increased the fees retailers pay, and they also created new categories of fees. Every bank that issues credit and debit cards adopted these fee increases without deviation or exception. In my estimation, this cannot possibly comply with either the letter or the spirit of our nation’s antitrust laws.” 

Speaking on the impact of fee increases to her business, Karet said, "Because of the unilateral fee increases Visa and Mastercard announced on April 22, my company and my customers will be paying an additional $1.3 million just to use their cards.” 

She continued, “I believe companies should be able to charge competitive prices for the goods and services they offer, but, from my experience, there is nothing competitive about two companies collectively setting fees that are then charged uniformly by every bank in the country at a rate that ends up exceeding all our business expenses, other than the salaries of our associates and rent.”

Karet concluded, “I applaud this Committee for looking at ways to achieve robust competition in the use of credit and debit cards, similar to the robust competition we must take part in if we are to remain in business in the grocery industry.”

To access Karet’s full testimony, click here.

FMI also submitted a written statement for the record, which calls for increased credit routing competition as well as clarification and further revisions to the 2010 debit card reform law known as the Durbin Amendment to Regulation II. FMI’s statement can be accessed here.