Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Bring Competition to Credit Card Routing

On June 7, 2023, Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Peter Welch (D-VT) and J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Representatives Lance Gooden (R-TX), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Tom Tiffany (R-WI) and Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) introduced the bipartisan The Credit Card Competition Act of 2023  (S.1838; House bill number not yet provided). The legislation, which was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate, would simply require that credit cards issued by the largest U.S. banks have at least two unaffiliated card payment networks available to process transactions. Nearly a decade ago, Congress opened the debit card market to competition, and businesses and consumers have all benefited. But today, retailers have limited choice of network when it comes to credit card transactions. While there are nearly a dozen independent networks equipped to route transactions, credit cards only have one network enabled on a card and lack any back up options if there is an outage. This results in higher costs for the consumer, less security, and less innovation. Swipe fees remain the second highest operating cost (following payroll) for convenience stores which costs the industry $161 billion annually.

“EMA applauds the lead House and Senate sponsors for introducing important legislation that will reduce swipe fees for small family-owned and operated businesses across the country. The fuel retail industry is one of the most competitive industries in America, where retailers post their prices on large signs where a one-penny difference can determine where customers choose to fill up. If this legislation becomes law, the competitive retail fuels marketplace will pass along savings from the Credit Card Competition Act to their customers,” said EMA president Rob Underwood.

EMA is a member of the Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC), which represents retailers, supermarkets, restaurants, drug stores, convenience stores, gas stations, online merchants, and other businesses focused on reforming the U.S. payments system to make it more transparent and competitive. MPC firmly believes in opening up the payments market and introducing competition, which in turn would lower costs and drive innovation.

This legislation was a top priority for EMA members during our DC conference “Day on the Hill” on May 11.


EMA is a federation of 47 state and regional trade associations representing family-owned and operated small business energy marketers throughout the U.S. EMA members supply 80 percent of all finished motor and heating fuel products sold nationwide including gasoline, diesel, biofuels, jet fuel, kerosene, racing fuel and lubricating oils. Marketers represented by EMA own and operate 60,000 retail motor fuel stations nationwide, supply motor fuels to an additional 40,000 gas stations and heating fuel to 5 million homes and businesses.