CU Group at Forefront of Credit Card Interchange Fight

Learn why CUNA is running a series of targeted digital adds outlining the group's opposition to credit card interchange legislation.

David Baumann


Aug 9



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David Baumann

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David Baumann

A squiggly pink arrow pointing downward and to the right.

CUNA running targeted online ads outlining opposition to legislation.

Lawmakers who thought they could leave the battle over credit card interchange policies back in Washington when they went home for the August recess are in for a rude awakening.

It followed them home.

CUNA is running a series of digital ads targeted to lawmakers in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Texas, Montana, and Ohio outlining its opposition to legislation sponsored by Sens. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Roger Marshall, R-Kan.

Backstory and Context

That legislation would require the Federal Reserve to issue rules to ensure that large credit unions and banks that currently use the four-party card processing system be required to use at least one affiliated network in addition to Visa and Mastercard.

The senators tried to get the legislation attached to the Senate version of the annual defense authorization bill, but that effort failed.

Retailers support the legislation, arguing that competition would drive down costs and prices by creating competition in the credit card processing industry.

Financial services trade groups—including credit union groups—oppose it, contending that when a similar process was created for the debit card industry the savings was not passed on to consumers.

What Do the Ads Say?

And so, CUNA has a series of video ads that are likely to pop up on news websites in those targeted states, as well as on social media sites.

The ads accuse large chain stores, referred to as “big-box retailers,” of being greedy by trying to convince Congress to enact the legislation.

“Their profits go way up, but our prices never seem to go down,” CUNA says in one ad, which also warns a new process would allow for more fraud in the credit card market.

Another ad asks, “Why won’t big retailers pay fair fees to protect us from fraud?”

The answer?

“Because they’ll cut costs anywhere to make billions more.”

Pushback from Retail Group

Not to be outdone, the National Retail Federation is urging consumers to contact their lawmakers with a message the organization has conveniently prepared for them.

“The Credit Card Competition Act would make important reforms to the credit card market to allow for more transparency and competition over which networks process credit card transactions,” the message states. “Doing so would benefit consumers and merchants and create a fair and free market.”

What Comes Next?

Ads and messages for and against the legislation are popping up everywhere.

“We will keep up the pressure,” Richard Gose, CUNA’s chief political officer, told reporters on a conference call Monday. “We will push as hard as we can until we get some resolution of the issue."

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