Associations oppose adding credit card routing mandate to military spending bill

The American Bankers Association joined nine other associations today in opposing an attempt to attach the Credit Card Competition Act to a must-pass military spending bill, saying the move would rob military families of their access to safe small-dollar credit options and card rewards.

The CCCA was reintroduced in the Senate and House in June after its backers failed last year to secure its passage, thanks to the efforts of bankers and other stakeholders. Supporters, including box merchants, are working to insert language from the CCCA into this year’s major defense spending bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, as well as mandate a study of credit and debit card fees.

“These non-germane amendments will rob military families of their credit card rewards, reduce the availability of safe credit, and undermine the nation’s data security,” the associations said in a joint letter to congressional leaders. “They have been filed with the goal of enriching the largest multinational retailers and obscure payments processors and have no business being added to annual legislation designed to bolster our national defense.”

The associations also said the proposed study amendment “is a litany of slanted research questions hastily written to reach a foregone conclusion.” They noted that a recent Federal Reserve report concluded that credit card issuers lose money on transaction fees they charge to merchants because the issuers pay those fees back out to others, including consumers, in the form of services provided.