NRF Supports Fight Against Hidden Credit Card Fees
The Conyers bill would require credit card systems possessing “substantial market power” to negotiate with merchants to reach a voluntary agreement on credit card terms and conditions. If an agreement cannot be reached, both sides would be required to submit to binding arbitration by a three-judge panel appointed by the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission.
The arbitration proceedings would take place with a limited 60-day discovery period and other statutory deadlines, and the judges would be required to apply a market standard reflecting a perfectly competitive system where neither side had market power. Terms and conditions set by the panel would be in effect for three years, at which time the process would repeat itself. Both sides would receive limited immunity from antitrust laws in order to participate in the process.
The legislation requires that terms and conditions set under the process be available to any merchant regardless of size, industry or location, the NRF reported. Individual merchants or groups of merchants would remain free to negotiate voluntary arrangements with credit card companies and their banks, the NRF reported.