WASHINGTON -- CUNA has joined the Electronic Payments Coalition, a group including banks, banking associations, CUSOs and NAFCU, organized to oppose federal legislation to mandate a settlement on card interchange.
H.R. 5546, which supporters called the Credit Card Fair Fee Act, would require the major card brands to negotiate with merchants to reach an interchange settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached, both sides would have to submit to binding arbitration by a panel of judges appointed by the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission.
In addition to NAFCU, the coalition already included Card Services for Credit Unions, the association of credit unions that process their card transactions with Fidelity National Information Services, and PSCU Financial Services, the payments CUSO with members that primarily process their card transactions with First Data Corp.
CUNA Vice President of Communications and Media Outreach Pat Keefe said the association reviewed the issue and voted in its committees to join the coalition and oppose the legislation.
CUNA CEO Dan Mica sent a letter April 29 to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives opposing the law, arguing that such an approach would establish "a costly governmental tribunal" to impose a decision on a system better served by the marketplace.
"Supporters of this legislation assert that consumers would benefit from government interference, but there is no clear indication that this objective will be met," Mica wrote. "Government-imposed price controls on interchange fees are more likely to increase credit and debit cards costs that consumers bear. The uncertainty surrounding this legislation makes it unlikely that consumers will see any benefit."