UPDATE - March 15th
The Food Marketing Institute has issued a Press Release
about the delay by Senator John Tester of the debit card reform.
Click here to view the FMI statement.
Montana Retailers Ads Criticize Sen. Tester
for Turning Back on MT Small Businesses
Tester Bill will Hurt Montana Small Businesses
Helena, MT (March 7, 2011) - The Montana Retail Association and the Montana Convenience Store Association have launched radio ads critical of Senator John Tester (D-MT) for his support for undoing critical debit card “swipe fee” reforms at the expense of Montana’s small businesses. Last year Congress passed meaningful reforms that would protect small businesses from the excessive fees charged by big banks and credit card companies every time a debit card is swiped in their stores. These fees have tripled since 2001 and cost merchants more than $20 billion every year. Debit cards are essentially e-checks with funds taken immediately from the customer’s checking account, yet they cost merchants between 1 to 2% for each transaction. There is no charge for paper checks, which require processing.
This disparity is hard to justify, which is why Congress passed the reform in the first place. The reforms are scheduled to take effect July 21. Senator Tester has announced his intent to introduce legislation to delay these reforms, a move that will cost Montana’s small business owners millions every month. “We are deeply disappointed in Senator Tester’s decision to put the interest of big banks ahead of those of Montana’s small businesses,” said Brad Griffin, president, Montana Retail Association. “The legislation, which has the support of Visa, MasterCard and the biggest banks in America, is part of the banking industry’s campaign to keep their risk free cash cow alive.” “Small businesses, including convenience stores, across Montana have suffered at the hands of the big banks and credit card companies for too long. Senator Tester’s plan to delay these reforms is an affront to every hard working small business owner in Montana,” said Ronna Alexander, president, Montana Convenience Store Association.
Link to Radio Ad Radio Ad Script: (click here to listen)
Senator Tester, we are disappointed. Every year, small businesses in Montana and across the country are forced to send more than twenty billion dollars to big banks and credit card companies, to pay for the broken debit-card “swipe fee” system. Millions of dollars leave Montana’s main street to line the pockets of fat cats on Wall Street. That’s why last year, Congress ended swipe fee abuse. And it’s also why the big banks are dragging their feet and lobbying Congress to let them off the hook. Now Senator Tester is standing with Wall Street; introducing a bill to undo these much needed reforms. Call Senator Tester at 406-449-5401 and tell him too many jobs, too many businesses are at stake to let Wall Street swipe back their phony fees.
Paid for by the Montana Retail Association and the Montana Convenience Store Association.