WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) took to the floor of the U.S. Senate this week to urge his colleagues to advance the Credit Card Competition Act, bipartisan legislation he co-introduced with Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL); Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS); and Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) to restore choice and competition to the credit card market and bring down costs for small businesses in Vermont and across America.
In his speech, Sen. Welch highlighted the essential role small businesses play in rural communities, and the ways swipe fees are hurting small businesses in rural America succeed. Recent reports suggest Visa and Mastercard, the two credit card companies that have a duopoly in the market, have decided to increase fees imposed on merchants and consumers this fall through new credit card fees or interchange fees.
“Why is it that American citizens and consumers and merchants pay seven times what is paid by merchants and individuals in Europe? It’s because our government doesn’t protect our consumers. Our government is not protecting our merchants and our small businesses. Where there is a monopoly—or in this case a duopoly—and there’s this massive pricing power that Visa and Mastercard have, they’re doing what monopolies do and duopolies do: they abuse that pricing power and they stick it to our merchants. It was $33 billion in charges…It’s $93 billion in charges now,” said Sen. Welch on the Senate floor. “…Let’s act. Let’s pass Senator Durbin’s and Senator Marshall’s bill and let’s protect our merchants against these rip-off credit card fees from Visa and Mastercard.”
Watch Sen. Welch’s full speech:
The bipartisan Credit Card Competition Act was introduced this summer by Sens. Durbin, Marshall, Welch, and Vance. Representatives Lance Gooden (R-TX-05) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-18) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
The Credit Card Competition Act is supported by organizations including the American Beverage Licensees, Armed Forces Marketing Council, Energy Marketers of America, FMI, Hispanic Leadership Fund, International Franchise Association, National Association of College Stores, National Association of Convenience Stores, National Association of Theater Owners, National Grocers Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, NFIB, Retail Industry Leaders Association, SIGMA, U.S. PIRG, and over 200 state and regional business associations.
A one-pager of the bill can be found here.