This text was received in email from a credit union:
Congress is proposing legislation that will increase your cost to use a debit card. If passed, I believe it will be the end of “free checking” at all financial institutions. I have a very important request of all Credit Union members regarding this costly and unwise legislation currently being considered in Washington DC.
Most of you have a debit card in your wallet. Each day when you make a purchase with your debit card, the credit union incurs costs as we process the transaction and guarantee that the merchant receives payment for your purchase. In the event that your card or card number is lost or stolen and a transaction involves fraud, the credit union also assumes the risk and suffers the loss associated with the transaction. In return for processing the transaction and assuming the risk, the merchant pays us a small interchange fee. Senate bill #3217 proposes that the Federal Reserve (instead of the free market) will determine the amount of interchange fees we receive. If passed, the bill will nearly eliminate the interchange income credit unions receive from merchants. The risks we assume and the costs we incur will continue to exist even if we don’t receive interchange income from the merchants. You, instead of the merchants, will have to pay these costs to make it possible for us to offer debit cards to our members.
There is still time to influence the decision of Congress, but a vote is likely before the end of June. Therefore, timely action is critical. Here is what I am asking you to do. Please ask your Congressman to oppose changes to the current interchange system. You can express your opposition to debit card fees by calling 1-877-223-5275. Tell your Congressional Representative to oppose changes to the current interchange system. Another convenient way to send your message by email is available at http://capwiz.com/cuna/home/. This easy-to-use system will allow you to convey a message to the entire Congressional delegation and President Obama.
Please call or email your Congressional delegation today to ensure that merchants continue to pay their fair share of the cost of debit card transactions. Thank you for your help in this important matter.