ARLINGTON, VA — April 17, 2009 — The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) issued the following statement from Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer, regarding increases in the interchange fees on payments using Visa rewards cards scheduled to take effect today.

“At a time when consumers and retailers are fighting for their economic survival and just a few days after they paid their taxes, Visa’s interchange fee increases are deplorable. Interchange is, in effect, a hidden tax on every plastic transaction, fixed by the credit card companies and banks in an anti-competitive market.”

“In a truly competitive market, companies offer consumers the best value for their dollar. We see this principle at work every day in the supermarket industry. Consumers deserve the same value when they use their credit card.”


Credit card companies and banks extract an interchange fee averaging about 2 percent on every credit card transaction. The total cost of interchange fees tripled since the beginning of this decade, from $16.6 billion in 2001 to a $48.8 billion in 2008, according to the Merchants Payments Coalition and data from The Nilson Report.

In the end, all consumers pay these fees — whether they pay by plastic, cash or check — because card company rules effectively force retailers to build them into the price of all goods and services.