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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Montana Retail Association are taking the battle over swipe fee reform to the airwaves on one detractor's home turf. Together, the two are launching a radio advertising campaign urging Sen. John Tester (D-MT) to rethink his opposition to a new federal law that would cap swipe fees. The cap is slated to go into effect this summer.
"Americans pay the highest swipe fees in the world," an announcer says in the new radio ads. "Sen. Tester knows this. But he's helping the big banks delay debit card swipe fee reform. Sen. Tester says he's for the consumer, but Tester lets the big banks swipe our money."
The ads come less than a week after Tester told his fellow legislators any reform movement needs at least another 15 months of review and should be delayed. That timeframe is down from the original 24 months Tester recommended in March.
"Montana retailers don't understand why Sen. Tester has taken the side of Wall Street banks over Main Street businesses and consumers here at home," Montana Retail Association President Bradley Griffin said. "These fees are driving up prices for Montana citizens at a time when the economy is still recovering. Montana doesn't want swipe fee reform delayed."
The 60-second spots are running on stations across Montana this week as part of NRF's nationwide 60-day lobbying, grassroots and media campaign aimed at ensuring swipe fee reform passed by Congress last year goes into effect as scheduled on July 21. A provision in the 2010 Wall Street reform bill will reduce the fees by an estimated 70 percent, saving about $14 billion a year that retailers plan to pass along to their customers through discounts or other benefits, according to a news release from NRF.
In related news, the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees is asking the owners of its 4,900 franchise-owned stores, their nearly 40,000 employees and 7-Eleven customers to voice their support on the swipe fee reform issue. The coalition is urging individuals to visit www.unfaircreditcardfees.com for the information they will need to contact their elected officials.
"If policymakers buy into the propaganda perpetuated by the big banks and credit card companies, our franchisees have no choice but to pass on these arbitrary fees directly to their customers," stated Bruce Maples, national chairman of the coalition. "This responsible law was agreed to last year with American families in mind and, given the state of the economy, it is unconscionable that big banks are now attempting to thwart the will of the people through a carefully choreographed yet disingenuous campaign. We are urging our members and their customers to re-double their efforts to reach out to Congress so their voices can be heard above the clamor of the credit card companies. We urge everyone to visit www.unfaircreditcardfees.com."