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Credit Card Competition Act bad for local business, our tourism economy

February 14, 2024, 12:18 pm

The intent of the proposed Credit Card Competition Act (CCCA) is to reduce routing fees for credit card transactions to save merchants–and hence consumers–money. However, this analysis suggests that almost all those savings will accrue to retailers with $500 million or more in annual sales, with little going to small businesses.

Chris Romer

A great deal of American travel is fueled by rewards programs, and businesses that depend on travel and tourism to exist. A flawed public policy like the Durbin-Marshall credit card bill would significantly hurt tourism and Eagle County businesses just as we have stabilized and found firm footing. The jobs, communities, and economies that rely on travel and tourism would suffer.

Eagle County residents and businesses recognize the importance of our tourism economy. Travel and tourism strengthen connections, enrich our lives, and drive the prosperity of the economy. Friends, families, and individuals pack up the car and board a flight or a train seeking adventure, or maybe just relaxation. What the Senators don’t realize is how these experiences support thousands of diverse communities such as ours and others across the country.

The Durbin-Marshall credit card bill aims to lower credit card swipe fees but would threaten the ability of financial institutions to pass revenue back to consumers through credit card points and rewards programs. This would have severe negative economic repercussions for nearly every American, whether they travel the country for leisure and restoration or rely on that travel to make ends meet and support their local business.

The bill hurts the ability to travel. Tens of millions of Americans book travel, accommodations, and experiences each year using their credit card rewards programs. This bill will severely hurt hard-working Americans who count on their cash back, points, and rewards programs as a significant part of their travel and tourism budget. This will have a devastating impact on the travel and tourism industry and those who benefit from it – such as our community.

The bill also harms small businesses and local economies. Tens of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses nationwide rely on travel and tourism dollars as their primary source of revenue. This bill would harm the American travel and tourism industry as it becomes vibrant again, forcing Americans and our businesses to face even more hurdles to economic sustainability.

It is such an issue for small businesses that Forbes reported on a recently released study by Indraneel Chakraborty, finance department chair at the University of Miami Herbert Business School. This study found any savings derived from the proposed government mandates in the Durbin-Marshall Credit Card Bill would disproportionately benefit the top five businesses in the U.S., “putting small retailers at a further competitive disadvantage” The study also found virtually no savings would be seen by retailers with less than $500 million in sales and true small businesses would see a negative $1 billion impact.

The banking industry – including community banks and credit unions – opposes this legislation. The American Bankers Association (ABA), said the bill is a “regressive bill that takes from consumers, community financial institutions and small businesses and gives to the most profitable global retailers and biggest grocery chains.” The main beneficiaries (and supporters) of this legislation are big retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, etc. These retailers have continually demonstrated that they are not going to tangibly pass their savings along to customers.

We encourage our elected officials in Washington to oppose this legislation and to protect our travel rewards and more importantly our small local businesses.

Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com 

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One Response to Credit Card Competition Act bad for local business, our tourism economy

  1. Mark S Bergman Reply

    February 14, 2024 at 12:35 pm

    So well explained. I agree completely. I’m also shocked that Congress thinks that in the current sociopolitical climate, this non -issue, should be a priority when they have plenty of partisan bickering to work on to paralyze our government.

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