ALEXANDRIA, Va. ? Contrary to what Jeffrey Tassey?s pronounced in this week?s American Banker (?Yes, the Interchange Fee Battle Is Over?), a growing number of trade groups and merchants are saying ?no thanks? to the proposed settlement, wrote Lyle Beckwith, NACS senior vice president of government relations, in American Banker.
He pointed out that NACS, the National Grocers Association, the National Cooperative Grocers Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association have all rejected the settlement proposal. ?An increasing number of merchants, large and small, that were not named plaintiffs came out against the deal when they realized that lawyers who never represented them are trying to sign away their rights to challenge Visa and MasterCard on interchange and pretty much everything else going forward,? wrote Beckwith.
?Since the announcement of the proposed settlement, banks and credit card issuers have depicted it as a done deal and have gone out of their way to give the appearance that retailers can't wait to place a surcharge on consumers.
?Nothing could be further from the truth. Though the settlement gives the merchants a limited right to surcharge, many retailers recognize that consumers should not be the ones to bear the brunt of over-priced, swipe fees banks and issuers charge merchants to process payments,? he wrote.
The settlement has no long-term swipe fee reductions, leaving the interchange fees ?three times higher in the U.S. than in the European Union. ?The U.S. has the highest swipe fees in the industrialized world. ?The one thing we know for sure is that the anti-competitive nature of the current swipe fee system is definitely not a ?very good thing? for consumers,? Beckwith concluded.