Swipe Fee Reform

House Won’t Repeal Debit Swipe Fee Protections

By keeping the protections in place, small businesses won't be stuck with a debit card tax on top of already thin operating margins, our policy chief says.

National Restaurant Association

The National Restaurant Association is applauding the House Financial Services Committee for revising the Financial CHOICE Act to remove repeal of debit swipe fee protections before the legislation moves to the House floor.

"By keeping debit swipe protections in place, small businesses will not be stuck with a debit card tax on top of their already thin operating margins,” said Cicely Simpson, our executive vice president of policy and government affairs.

Reasons to keep the protections in place

The Financial CHOICE Act, drafted by Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, initially sought to remove debit swipe fee protections.  Originally passed as part of the Durbin Amendment in 2010, they provided relief to small businesses who’d been paying astronomical fees on every debit-card purchase a customer made.

Once enacted, protections cut the fees nearly in half, saving restaurants millions of dollars annually. This allowed restaurant operators to hire tens of thousands of new employees.

Simpson said the House Financial Services Committee’s actions to remove repeal of the protections would “continue to advocate for fairness in swipe fees on behalf of the more than 1 million restaurant owners across the country.”

One for the win column

Restaurateurs around the country, as well as our entire policy team, worked together to convince Congress to keep the debit-card swipe fee protections in place. We deployed an aggressive campaign that included messaging via earned, social and digital media and political lobbying to achieve the victory.

Simpson called the win “significant,” and a “grassroots win for everyone involved.”

The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the revised legislation as soon as the week of June 5.

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