ARLINGTON, VA — May 13, 2011—On the one year anniversary of the Durbin Amendment, hometown businesses and their customers across America are still facing the financial difficulties of the ongoing battle against interchange swipe fees. In response, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) launched an online petition for the retail community to sign and show their support for the debit card reforms Congress passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform bill last year. The petition can be found at:

“Today, retailers struggle to balance swipe fees, which are the second highest operation cost after labor,” says FMI President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie G. Sarasin. “Due to this, consumers are shouldering the burden, as portions of these fees must be incorporated into the price of goods.”

Adopted by a 64 to 33 vote in the Senate, the Durbin amendment works toward reforming fixed fees that are the highest the world. Across the globe, seven of the eight countries with highest per capita debit card usage have a swipe fee rate of zero. In the U.S., fees can be as high as 50 cents per swipe, causing local businesses unable to make profits from their sales.

“The inability for supermarkets to negotiate fees and terms of card acceptance leaves many at the mercy of the big banks and card networks,” says Jennifer Hatcher, senior vice president of government and public affairs at FMI. “Last year Congress passed reforms to rein in debit card swipe fees, and it is critical to the livelihood of Main Street business that these reforms go into effect on time this year.”

Legislation introduced in the U.S. House and Senate (HR 1081/S. 575) would delay these reforms for one and two years (respectively), putting billions of dollars back into the hands of Wall Street banks.