ARLINGTON, VA — July 15, 2010 — The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) praised the U.S. Senate for approving the Conference Report to H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which will require the Federal Reserve to set “reasonable and proportional” interchange fees on debit card transactions. President Obama is expected to sign the bill.

            “This is a long-fought victory for supermarkets and their customers across the country. Our members' extensive work on this spans more than the past decade,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president and chief executive officer. “These fees represent the only completely uncontrollable cost for retailers. Supermarkets and their customers will see the benefits of a system of reasonable and proportional costs in a competitive and transparent marketplace.”

            FMI is grateful to the members of Congress who sponsored interchange fee legislation and advanced this measure, including the amendment’s author, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), who also introduced the Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2009 (S. 1212), which empowers retailers to negotiate these and related fees with credit card companies and banks, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and Reps. Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Peter Welch (D-VT), who introduced the companion legislation in the House as well as the Credit Card Interchange Fees Act..

            Consumers have been paying more than $50 billion a year in hidden interchange fees to credit card companies and banks. Interchange fees are collected by banks and credit card companies each time a consumer uses a credit or debit card to make a purchase. Ultimately these fees lead to higher prices for all consumers. Since these fees are hidden, consumers are unaware of the costs associated with their cards.

            FMI represents the voices of more than 26,000 supermarkets to address the outrageous fees and to negotiate reasonable swipe fees. FMI is a founding member of the Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC), a group of nearly 100 associations representing retailers, supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, fuel stations, online merchants and other businesses that accept debit and credit cards. FMI serves as the chairman of the legislative subcommittee of the MPC. FMI and the coalition have been fighting for more than 5 years legislatively and more than a decade to educate Members of Congress on the need for a more competitive and transparent card system. The coalition’s member associations collectively represent some 2.7 million stores with about 50 million employees.