Key Unions Endorse Durbin, Marshall Credit Card Competition Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS) today released the following statement applauding key unions’ endorsement of their Credit Card Competition Act, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU):

“Our unions understand that American consumers are concerned about inflation and the high prices of everyday items like groceries and gas, and they understand family budgets are being stretched to the absolute limit with little room for error while the biggest Wall Street banks and the Visa-Mastercard duopoly line their pockets,” said Durbin and Marshall.  “We wholeheartedly welcome these key endorsements because we can all agree we must look out for hardworking American families.  Our bipartisan legislation, which has the support from a wide range of small businesses and consumers, would inject real competition in the credit card market.”

Durbin and Marshall continued, “With today’s union support, we’re hopeful it’s a wake-up call to Congress: let’s break up the sweetheart deal that Visa, Mastercard, and the big banks exploit and let’s fight for hardworking Americans paying the price for their price-gouging schemes.  It is time to pass our bipartisan, bicameral legislation—the Credit Card Competition Act—and inject competition into the payment process industry, ultimately lowering costs for businesses and consumers.”

“Union members and American families cannot afford to sacrifice so much of their hard-earned wages to predatory and consolidated credit card corporations trying to skim every last dollar they can from vulnerable consumers,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “Wages must go up across our economy and those gains must remain in the pockets of American workers. The Teamsters Union fully endorses the Credit Card Competition Act in partnership with Sen. Durbin and Sen. Marshall to ease inflationary pressures on working people and establish greater accountability in the financial market.”

Durbin and Marshall’s Credit Card Competition Act of 2023 would enhance competition and choice in the credit card network market, which is currently dominated by the Visa-Mastercard duopoly.  Building off of debit card competition reforms enacted by Congress in 2010, the bill would direct the Federal Reserve to ensure that the largest credit card-issuing banks offer a choice of at least two networks over which an electronic credit transaction may be processed.  The legislation is estimated to save merchants and consumers $15 billion each year and Durbin and Marshall recently urged the Senate to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. 

Visa and Mastercard wield enormous market power in credit cards; according to the Federal Reserve, they account for nearly 576 million cards or about 83 percent of general-purpose credit cards.  Visa’s and Mastercard’s market power and network structure have enabled them to impose fees on U.S. merchants that are among the world’s highest, charging a total of $93 billion in U.S. merchant credit card fees in 2022.  These fees include interchange or swipe fees which Visa and Mastercard require merchants to pay to issuing banks, as well as network fees that Visa and Mastercard require merchants to pay directly to them.  Consumers ultimately pay for these fees in the price of the goods and services they buy.