Using a new website and timed to Saturday’s startup of new interchange cap rules, CUNA has started monitoring merchant practices on debit card fees.
The trade group said it is encouraging credit unions to report anti-CU “discriminating” acts which could be shared later with the NCUA and state regulators.
CUNA officials said they hope to come up with initial findings from the website responses as early as next week depending on information gathered as the Durbin amendment changes take effect.
“The website allows credit unions to report any instances of merchants tampering with the purchase process or favoring others over credit union debit cards,” said CUNA.
CUNA stressed that “any information reported to CUNA on the site will remain confidential and the names of the credit unions involved will not be disclosed.”
However, “relevant portions” of the reports may be given to state leagues “and depending on the problem may also be reported to NCUA or state regulators,” the trade group said. Mary Dunn, CUNA senior vice president and deputy general counsel, said CUNA seeks to “protect debit interchange fee income for credit unions as much as possible and will continue to work with the Federal Reserve Board, networks, and others to ensure that a two-tiered system is provided for and maintained according to the Dodd-Frank Act’s small issuer exemption.”
Meanwhile, CUNA “does have concerns that merchants will want to minimize their expenses related to the acceptance of debit cards, and CUNA wants to be vigilant to any indications that they are disfavoring credit union debit cards or that they plan to do so in the future.
“CUNA wants credit union feedback on any experiences they may have had regarding merchants that have engaged in such prohibited practices."
CUNA said its confidential, password-protected web form would provide feedback, noting also that merchants are barred from “attempting to steer, refuse to accept, or frustrate the acceptance of debit cards” issued by CUs.