hard to achieve. Leading up to the Financial Services
Committee’s consideration of the bill, NACS members
urged their representatives to protect debit swipe fee
reforms, sending nearly 4, 200 letters to Capitol Hill.
On September 13, the Committee had a markup to
consider and debate the bill. The chairman claimed in
his remarks that H.R. 5983 would “provide desperately
needed regulatory relief for small community banks
and credit unions.” Also on September 13, Senator
Durbin penned an op-ed in a Capitol Hill publication,
The Hill, calling Hensarling’s bill “the largest gift to the
banking industry since the big bank bailout” in 2008.
“The swipe fee reform law that Congress enacted
in 2010 was a huge step forward in bringing transpar-
ency, competition and choice to a debit card system
that had been rigged by Visa, MasterCard and the
banks,” Durbin wrote, adding the reforms “put an end
to Visa and MasterCard’s anticompetitive habit of
paying incentives to banks to block other debit card
networks from handling the banks’ debit transactions.
These important reforms have enhanced market
competition and incentivized greater efficiency and
During the committee’s markup, no amend-
ments were offered by Republicans or Democrats.
In fact, the Democrats called for a vote, which
forced Hensarling to declare a recess as he
pressed his Republican colleagues to vote for the
bill in spite of the interests of their constituent
Main Street businesses. Ultimately, the Financial
Choice Act passed by a narrow vote of 30-26 with
So what’s next for the Financial Choice Act?
NACS and its retail members are continuing to meet
with members of the House of Representatives to
educate them about this simple fact: Repealing debit
swipe fee reforms would place Visa and MasterCard
squarely in the price-fixing business and make it
impossible for smaller card networks to compete. All
of this would dramatically increase costs for convenience retailers and their customers.
Anna Ready is the NACS director of
government relations. She can be reached
We encourage you to meet with your member of
Congress to voice your opposition to the Financial
Choice Act. Contact your NACS Government
Relations team for help in scheduling these meetings.