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Interchange battle receives national local coverage
WASHINGTON (6/3/10)—National online publication The Motley Fool recently backed up credit union claims regarding pending interchange legislation, saying in an editorial that while it seems like “what's bad news for the banks” would be good news for consumers, “it's far from clear whether ordinary consumers will benefit at all from the legislation.” “For the most part, customers have never seen the direct impact of interchange fees,” the story said, adding that those same customers “may never see any direct benefit from new limits” on interchange fees. Retailers have argued that reducing interchange fee expenses would allow them to pass on savings to consumers, but, as the story notes, “if the changes are extended to credit card interchange fees, then some consumers could actually end up being worse off.” “With another source of revenue under attack, it's even more likely that customers will face annual fees and other direct costs to offset lost interchange fee income,” the story added. A more local perspective on the interchange fight was provided by the Dayton Business Journal, which noted that credit unions depend on interchange income to offset the costs of offering a debit card system to their members. The story focused on the efforts of Ohio-based Wright-Patt CU and Day Air CU and also cited Ohio Credit Union League claims that “debit cards issued by credit unions not complying with the rate enacted by the Fed could be turned down by retailers at the point of purchase, giving merchants the authority to discriminate against certain cards.” The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has called on credit union members, employees and supporters nationwide to urge their legislators to oppose changes to the current interchange fee structure. CUNA is backing grassroots actions, and has also met with the U.S. Treasury this week to outline credit union concerns regarding the current interchange fee legislation.


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