LAS VEGAS—Swipe fees cost the convenience retailing industry $14 billion dollars a year and remain one of the biggest challenges facing convenience retailers. But there is hope on the horizon in the form of a new bill introduced in both houses of Congress this year.
The Credit Card Competition Act of 2022 is co-sponsored in the House by Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Lance Gooden (R-Texas) and in the Senate by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.).
NACS President and CEO Henry Armour said the bill would do for credit card operations what a similar bill (also sponsored by Durbin) did for debit cards a few years back.
“We have an immense opportunity to fix this broken system,” he said. “The Credit Card Competition Act would bring long overdue competition to the credit card marketplace, significantly reducing these fees.”
Senator Marshall was on hand for Sunday’s General Session to explain the importance of the bill and why he chose to get involved on behalf of convenience-store owners.
“Once I figured out that there were four global banks and two credit card companies controlling this industry, I said, there’s a problem in here,” he said. “And then once we started having this horrible inflation, I think that’s when it came to my attention that this is an inflation multiplier.”
Outgoing NACS Chairman Jared Scheeler, CEO of The Hub Convenience Stores Inc., said there are multiple problems with these fees, but the biggest one is that people simply don’t even know they exist.
“These fees are buried. They’re hidden,” he said. “When a customer swipes their card, they don’t think for a second that there’s a fee associated with that transaction. But as business owners, we’re not stupid. Of course, we’re going to build these fees into the prices of our goods and services and that adds up over time. High prices aren’t good for us. We’re seeing that with the price of gasoline and diesel right now.”
Fortunately, Senator Marshall said there is plenty convenience-store owners can do to make their voices heard on this critical issue.
“If you have a relationship with a congressman or a senator or your community bankers, reach out to them and try to communicate,” he said. “I think the talking point is that this is an inflation multiplier that the convenience stores are spending more on than their utility bill.”
You can make your voice heard by texting “NACS” to 50457 or visiting convenience.org/fixswipe to send an email. Or stop by the NACSPAC Lounge, located in the grand lobby for more information.