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    FMI Speaks Out on Visa Swipe Fee Hike

    Interchange fee charged to merchants when using a PIN debit card increased nearly 30 percent.

    ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) recently criticized a new hike in he interchange fees Visa chargers merchants for PIN debit transactions.

    The organization noted that Visa will increase its interchange fee nearly 30 percent for its Interlink network, which handles the personal identification number (PIN) debit charges.

    "It is unacceptable that Visa continues to increase fees at a time when our country needs to protect the hardworking Americans who provide jobs in our communities," Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer at FMI, said in a statement. "Swipe fees are hurting small independent businesses and grocers the most because they pay some of the highest rates and have no choice about whether or not to accept debit cards to remain competitive."

    In the statement issued April 15, or tax day, FMI said American families also pay more than $400 in so-called swipe fees to banks and credit card companies. FMI also noted credit and debit card interchange fees cost American consumers and businesses more than $48 billion in 2008.

    "Much-needed swipe fee reforms will continue to be a top priority for FMI. We applaud Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Representatives Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), and Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) for their leadership on this important industry issue and we encourage other lawmakers to support their efforts to bring meaningful relief to interchange swipe fees and unfair, intrusive card company practices that are squeezing small businesses and raising prices for all our customers," she said.

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