Four Years Later, Consumers Aren’t Seeing Savings Promised by Retailers From the Durbin Amendment
WASHINGTON, DC – October 1, 2015 marks the fourth anniversary of the Durbin amendment’s implementation, but consumers aren’t celebrating. Once again, a new survey shows at least 92 percent of shoppers in each of the 15 categories measured reported that prices have increased or remained the same over the past year. This survey provides additional evidence that despite retailer promises that they would lower prices after realizing savings from the amendment – savings that now total over $32 billion – consumers generally have not seen savings.
This survey, conducted in September 2015 by Phoenix Marketing International and sponsored by the Electronic Payments Coalition, asked nearly 2,000 consumers about price changes they have observed at a variety of retailers. The survey found continued evidence that most shoppers are not experiencing a price decrease at the point-of-sale. Supermarket shoppers were the most likely to report price increases – with 72 percent saying that supermarket prices have increased over the past year. Other categories with more than half of consumers reporting price increases included restaurants and drug stores or pharmacies.
“In each of the 15 categories measured, less than 10 percent of consumers reported a price decrease – ranging from two percent in supermarkets to eight percent in jewelry stores,” said Greg Weed of Phoenix Marketing International, who led the study. “Consumer research over the last four years does not provide any substantial evidence that the Durbin amendment has directly helped consumers. In fact, trend research since 2012 continues to show that consumers are widely skeptical of the claim that retailers have in fact passed along their savings from debit-card swipe fees.”
While Congress was considering the Durbin amendment in 2011, Senators were promised (p. 20 of the floor testimony) that retailers would provide savings to consumers as a direct result of the Durbin amendment. Today’s research adds to the pile of existing evidence that this was an empty promise. Consumers have yet to see savings as a result of the amendment – and in some cases, prices are actually on the rise.
“When you combine these findings with other scholarly research, which found that the Durbin amendment increased banking costs for low-income consumers, you really begin to appreciate how this failed policy has forced consumers to foot the bill for big box retailers,” said Camden R. Fine, President and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America.
Passed as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the Durbin amendment capped the amount that retailers pay to accept debit cards. Since it went into effect in October 2011, this law has saved retailers $8 billion each year, adding up to $32 billion after four years.
“Four years, $32 billion and countless studies later, the evidence is overwhelming that consumer savings as a result of the Durbin amendment were nothing more than false promises,” said Sam Fabens, spokesperson for the Electronic Payments Coalition. “Today’s research is further proof that this was all just a political charade and an excuse for retailers to ask Congress for a handout worth billions of dollars.”
To learn more about this research and the impact of the Durbin amendment, visit https://epc1.wpengine.com/.
About the Electronic Payments Coalition
The Electronic Payments Coalition (EPC) includes credit unions, banks, and payment card networks that move electronic payments quickly and securely between millions of merchants and millions of consumers across the globe. EPC’s goal is to protect the value, innovation, convenience and competition in today’s growing electronic payments system. EPC educates policymakers, consumers and the media on the system’s role in economic growth, and the importance of protecting consumer choice and stability for the continued growth of global commerce.