WLDS News reports that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois),the Senate Majority Whip, and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) have "sent a letter to the CEOs of Visa and Mastercard … urging the companies not to raise interchange fee rates during the COVID-190 pandemic."
It has been reported that both credit card companies plan to raise their interchange rates, or "swipe fees," in April 2021, after a pandemic-related delay of increases originally scheduled for a year ago.
In their letter, the lawmakers said that "these fee increases reportedly will apply to a variety of types of transactions, including online card payments made to restaurants and grocery stores that will hurt both consumers and small businesses just as increased vaccination efforts start to give Main Street businesses hope for a summer reopening."
After the letter to the CEOs was made public, Leslie Sarasin, president-CEO of FMI – The Food Industry Association, issued a supportive statement:
"FMI applauds Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) for urging the CEOs of Visa and Mastercard to not raise interchange fee rates this April in a letter today. According to estimates by CMSPI, rate increases scheduled by Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. next month will add an additional $1 billion more in interchange costs annually. We join Senator Durbin and Representative Welch in their calls to Visa and Mastercard to not raise swipe fees, particularly while so many families are struggling to economically recover from the COVID-19 pandemic."