— Grocery Stores and Consumers Gain Relief from Credit Card Fees —

ARLINGTON, VA — May 21, 2010 — Food Marketing Institute (FMI) applauds the State of Vermont for passing a bill that allows merchants to set a minimum amount for credit card purchases and prohibits credit card companies from fining businesses that offer discounts to customers who use credit cards with lower interchange swipe fees for the merchant. Vermont Governor Jim Douglas allowed the bill to become law without signing it today. The law goes into effect in January 2011.

     “This groundbreaking law addresses abusive card company rules and practices and benefits both businesses and customers,” said Jennifer Hatcher, FMI group vice president of government relations. “The hard work of the Vermont Grocers Association and the Vermont Retail Association is providing long overdue relief for state retailers just as the same practices are being scrutinized on the federal level. We hope this will pave the way for other states to pass similar legislation.”

     Credit card companies and banks extract an interchange fee averaging about 2 percent from every plastic transaction. The total cost to retailers and, ultimately, consumers has tripled since the beginning of this decade to more than $48 billion in 2008.