ARLINGTON, VA — November 19, 2009 — The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) issued the following statement from Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer, on the report released today by the General Accountability Office (GAO) titled Rising Interchange Fees Have Increased Costs for Merchants, but Options for Reducing Fees Pose Challenges:

“The GAO report confirms that credit card companies are increasing interchange fees, contrary to their claims — a trend they cleverly disguise by charging myriad rates for different industries and transactions.”

Visa now has 60 rate categories and MasterCard has 243 rate categories, the report found, up from only four for each company in 1991.

“The GAO report recognizes that big banks benefit the most from rising interchange fees, while neighborhood supermarkets and other main street businesses struggle with swipe fee increases, forcing them to pass along the costs to consumers.”

“We hope the findings of the GAO report will help Congress better understand the need to act and provide relief to businesses and consumers.”