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Washington
CUNA opposes government meddling with interchange fees
WASHINGTON (5/1/08)—The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) this week warned federal lawmakers that government regulation of credit card interchange fees would be a bane to consumers by reducing their payment options. CUNA also noted that government interference with the fees, as proposed by H.R. 5546, the Credit Card Fair Fee Act, could dampen both competition among card companies and technological innovation. The House bill proposes to establish governmental tribunal that would be authorized to “make determinations of access rates and terms calculated to most closely represent the rates and terms that would be negotiated in a hypothetical perfectly competitive marketplace for access to an electronic payment system between a willing buyer with no market power and a willing seller with no market power.” CUNA said that such a tribunal would be costly and would serve to impose government decisions on a system that is more appropriately governed by the market. “Government-imposed price controls on interchange fees are more likely to increase credit and debit cards costs that consumers bear. The uncertainty surrounding this legislation makes it unlikely that consumers will see any benefit,” CUNA said in a letter that went to each House member. H.R. 5546 is currently pending action before the House Judiciary Committee and is expected to be vetted through the hearing process in mid-May.


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