Marshall helps introduce legislation to examine veteran swipe fees

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Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 12:55 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Senator Roger Marshall has helped introduce new legislation that would examine how much veterans are charged in swipe fees.

U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) says he and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced two new amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act to address high credit and debit card swipe fees that burden veterans.

Sen. Marshall said the first amendment would direct the Department of Defense and the Treasury Department to issue a report about a current law that requires some veterans to pay surcharge fees for using credit or debit cards at military commissaries to cover the cost of the swipe fee.

“Our American heroes are being taken advantage of at commissaries across the U.S. at a time when they, and the country they serve, are grappling with crippling inflation and an ongoing recession. As credit card swipe fees continue to increase at a rate detached from reality, it is critical we make sure those who served and are serving this country are not being unfairly taken advantage of. The first step for fixing this problem is measuring it, and our amendment will give us the much-needed information to address the out-of-control swipe fees that are wreaking havoc on all Americans. As Senator Durbin and I continue our bipartisan efforts to rein in swipe fees, I am proud to team up with him once again on these important NDAA amendments,” Marshall said.

Marshall indicated that the report would ask for information from the previous fiscal year on how much is charged with these fees, which networks and banks receive the fees, how much each category of veteran is charged and whether banks or networks reimburse the swipe fees to spare veterans.

Marshall said the second amendment would enhance competition and choices in the credit card network market - currently dominated by the Visa-Mastercard duopoly. Building off reforms enacted by Congress in 2010, he said the bill would direct the Federal Reserve to ensure the giant credit card-issuing banks offer a choice of at least two networks.

“For years I have worked to bring fairness and competition to credit and debit card swipe fees,” said Sen. Durbin. “These swipe fees inflate the prices that consumers pay for groceries and gas, and, incredibly, veterans are being charged extra for commissary purchases because of these exorbitant fees.  That’s outrageous, and we’re going to find out which banks and card networks are profiting off of these surcharges on our heroic veterans. With these amendments, we can bring real competition to credit card networks to help reduce swipe fees and hold down costs for Main Street merchants and their customers; and bring transparency to the shameful surcharge fees inflicted upon our veterans.”

Marshall noted that Visa and Mastercard account for nearly 576 million cards - 83% of general purpose credit cards. He said $3.49 trillion was transacted through the two companies in 2021 and charged merchants a total of $77.8 billion in fees.