Don’t Let Your Members be Misled on Interchange

By Cyndie Martini

With all the back-and-forth during the recent regulatory battle over debit interchange, a lot of misinformation has circulated about possible outcomes. Some in the media have reported that small banks and credit unions will be big winners because they are exempt from the price cap. Others have claimed that consumers will win because the merchants will pass on their savings in the form of lower prices. In reality, no financial institution — and more importantly, none of the millions of Americans who use their services — will benefit from these new regulations.

Since the Fed proposed the new regulations in December, Member Access Pacific (MAP) has been working non-stop to educate clients about the potential consequences for credit unions and their members. In turn, MAP’s clients have written to the Federal Reserve Board and contacted their representatives and senators about taking legislative action. It’s now time to reach out to credit union members and explain the new reality that is expected if these rules going into effect.

Two organizations have created campaigns aimed at educating consumers about how the new regulations will make debit cards more expensive and less convenient than what they have come to know. The first comes from the National Federal Credit Union Association (NAFCU) and promotes “Do the Right Thing for America’s Consumers” and the other is an ad that carries the tag line “Washington is helping you clean out your wallet” (see right) sponsored by the Electronic Payments Coalition, an alliance of credit unions, banks and payment card networks. These ads are available online.

If you have the opportunity, reach out to your members about how this law will impact them. The proposed debit interchange rules represent a huge new regulatory burden whose true costs will end up falling on the shoulders of your members and millions of American consumers.

During the next few months, you can expect even more fallout as the debit interchange regulations are debated and the final rules are written. MAP will be here to help you navigate these issues as they arise. We will also be working with our partners in anticipation of the changing payments environment ahead. As always, I am available to hear your concerns and answer any questions you might have. Feel free to call me, 1-866-598-0698, ext. 1610 or email me at cyndie.martini@mapacific.com.

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