Rock Island store benefits from federal reforms

By:  John David
WQAD Quad Cities

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois— It happens with each debit card swipe. Shoppers use the card for convenience.

"For everything, practically," said shopper Judy Wiener. "Gas, food, restaurants."

"People now do that," added Rock Island Country Market Manager Karl Schierbrock. "They pay for everything with the debit card."

But it's also costing stores like the market .44 every transaction. That's cutting into an already tight profit margin.

"If we're going to have an expanding economy that's fair to retailers and fair to consumers, we can't allow you to have this price fixing," said Sen. Dick Durbin, (D) Illinois.

That's about to change. Sen. Durbin came to the store on Friday to introduce new regulations. Federal reforms that will drop those fees to .24 per transaction. It's something to benefit shoppers and stores.

"I never knew that," said shopper Annette Ghys. "I think that's going to help the stores out a lot, which will help the economy because a lot of people are going to be aware of how their money is being spent now."

The changes should help to level the playing field for stores like Rock Island Country Market. Stores that are now paying thousands of dollars in swipe fees to credit card companies.

More than half the transactions in the market are paid with plastic. That's really hurting the bottom line.

"We are for competition and transparency," Sen. Durbin said. "I think that's part of the free market."

At this grocery store, it sounds like a good thing. Shoppers like Annette Ghys will keep using the plastic.

"It's so much easier for everybody to go ahead and use a debit card," she concluded.

And starting Saturday, making a swipe that's easy and fairer.