Association Provides Portal to Debit Discrimination Reporting

The debit interchange battle was one of the biggest the industry has seen in a long time. With its implementation in October, the final regulation prohibits retailers from discriminating against cards from small issuers (those under $10 billion) which are exempted from the government-imposed fee limits.

While it does not yet appear that merchants are making efforts to steer consumers away from debit cards issued by small institutions, it is important to remain vigilant as this regulation begins to settle in.

To aid in reporting discrimination, the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) has partnered with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) to help ensure that suspected instances of steering are appropriately directed and quickly remedied. The Association has provided a direct link from its Regulatory Advocacy home page to CUNA’s discrimination reporting form, which can be quickly filled out from one centralized location. This allows CUNA, while partnering with various leagues and associations, to monitor industry concerns as a whole, watch for trends, and route complaints appropriately.

Once a complaint has been submitted via the web form, concerns will be routed to the state association, Federal Reserve, NCUA and other appropriate regulators. Credit unions will also be directed to contact the network should the complaint involve Visa or MasterCard. All reports will remain confidential.

Reporting concerns is essential in ensuring that studies on the viability of this two-tiered interchange fee system being conducted by the Federal Reserve, lawmakers, and other agencies are accurate and have a broad base.

While merchants are not allowed to steer, refuse, or frustrate the acceptance of cards issued by institutions not subject to the fee cap, they may provide incentives or discounts based on the method a customer chooses to use. It is essential to make sure merchants understand the vigilance with which this issue is being monitored.

The Association remains committed to working against debit interchange fee restrictions and will continue to work for opportunities to make positive changes toward a market-based fee structure. In the meantime, reporting emerging issues is critical as it helps to provide real evidence of discrimination.

 

The NWCUA Regulatory Advocacy team works with state and federal regulators to help reduce the regulatory burden on credit unions and protect the credit union movement. The Association encourages members to participate in the regulatory process. If you have any questions on these or any regulatory issues, please contact Director of Regulatory Advocacy Jaycee Winn at jwinn@nwcua.org, or at 800.995.9064 x209.

Posted in Advocacy News, CU4Kids, Events, Federal.