The issue of interchange fees found an audience at the Georgia House Banks and Banking Committee, which listened to testimony last week on HB 1456-a bill that deals with the subject of interchange fees.
Often late session bills are buried in subcommittees, but significantly Committee Chairman James Mills, who co-sponsored the bill, allowed the full committee to hear testimony on the interchange issue.
Darryl Wiley, a small grocery store owner and a constituent of Chairman Mills, told the committee how his interchange fees had multiplied over the years with no corresponding increase in the value of the services. A representative from Georgia-based Home Depot also testified that even a company of its size had no leverage regarding interchange and that their rates had increased a number of times since the beginning of the year.
On the opposition side, a former legislator from Illinois (who also testified in the Vermont hearings), explained how much competition was in the marketplace, etc. Committee members unsuccessfully attempted to get answers to questions posed on the frequency of rate increases or why U.S. interchange rates were amongst the world’s highest, NACS reported.
While no vote has been scheduled for this bill, closing statements from Mills indicated that this would not be the last time that the committee took on interchange. Mills also strongly encouraged the parties to seek some common ground on the issue.