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Electronic Payments Coalition backs Durbin Amendment repeal

The Electronic Payments Coalition has officially announced its support for a bipartisan bill introduced in the House that aims to repeal the Durbin Amendment.

The bill, known as the Consumer Debit Card Protection Act, was introduced in early Oct. by Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Bill Owens (D-N.Y.).

EPC, which includes credit unions, banks and payment card networks that move electronic payments between merchants and consumers worldwide, has held a long-time position against the Durbin Amendment and efforts to cap interchange fees.

"The Durbin amendment was forced into law despite repeated warnings from consumer advocates, regulators, and economists on the dire consequences that await consumers,” EPC spokeswoman Trish Wexler said. “We now see this unfortunate situation for consumers playing out in the form of higher costs to own and use a debit card, with no promise from merchants that any of their savings will be passed on at the register. We commend Congressmen Chaffetz and Owens for their efforts to protect consumers, and we urge Congress to act quickly to get rid of this unprecedented and harmful amendment once and for all."

Wexler has had a loud voice in the defense of large banks, such as Bank of America, that have announced new debit card fees since the Durbin Amendment went into effect.

“One of the unintended consequences is that this would disproportionately harm lower-income individuals,” Wexler said, BusinessWeek.com reports. “If you can't afford $5 a month, you're going to stop using your debit card.”

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