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WASHINGTON -- Representatives from Speedway and SuperAmerica (SSA) convenience stores joined with NACS -- the Association for Convenience and Petroleum Retailing, yesterday to deliver nearly 1.7 million new customer petitions asking Congress to enact swipe fee reform to benefit merchants and consumers.
"Through the hard work of SSA store associates and field management, we collected nearly 1.7 million signatures from consumers who believe it's high time for Congress to pass legislation" reforming swipe fees, Tony Kenny, president of SSA, said during a press conference yesterday.
The petition campaign was held during April and May, and was promoted in SSA's 1,600 company-owned and -operated stores with signage, as well as direct conversations by store associates with customers at the pump and in stores.
Calling the response "remarkable," Kenny detailed the total signatures collected across its nine-state marketing region, including its home state of Ohio, which generates more than 500,000 signatures.
"We began this campaign because swipe fees have increased on a double-digit compounded annual growth rate over the past decade," said Kenny. "Swipe fees are now our second highest operating expense. Our particular concern is that they are hidden, non-negotiable and inflate the prices of goods and services."
SSA's 1.68 million signatures bring the total number of swipe fee petition signatures gathered across the country to 5.5 million.
Financial reform legislation cleared the Senate with a bipartisan amendment by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), to reform credit and debit card swipe fees. These signatures will be delivered to House representatives in SSA's nine-state region, urging them to keep the swipe fee amendment unchanged and intact in the final version of the reform bill.
"As the House and Senate meet in conference next week, they'll decide whether or not to include the amendment in the final version," Lyle Beckwith, vice president of NACS, said during the press conference. "There's been extensive lobbying by the credit card companies, and they are trying desperately to change the amendment into something innocuous with no effect."
He added: "With a [strong] bipartisan vote in the Senate, it would be difficult for the Durbin amendment to be stripped out. We're concerned that the credit card industry would render it ineffective."
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