Issue Being Fought Out At State Level Too
WASHINGTON -- Interchange is not only starting to generate heat at the federal level. Sub-issues around the topic have been bubbling up at the state level as well.
This past spring in Texas, the state legislature faced a bill that would have allowed retailers to charge a fee to consumers who use a credit or debit card to pay for a product or service. The legislative change was eventually voted down.
Led in part by American Consumers for Education and Competition, a consumer rights and financial literacy advocacy organization that is funded by Visa, the opponents argued that the proposed law called for merchants to notify consumers prior to adding a surcharge fee to a purchase made using a credit card, but made no provisions for enforcement of that requirement.
They also charged that all the retailers wanted was to be able to pass more of their costs onto consumers without, as they promised, cutting prices.
"Consumers need to be aware of this national campaign filtering down into the states and should take heed from Australian consumers who are now feeling the brunt of promises broken by merchants who claimed that with increased regulation they would lower prices," said Rebecca Reid, executive director of ACEC. "Aussie consumers are paying the same prices and in some cases, getting surcharged on top of it."