If you want to lead in any industry, you better follow the news. This is doubly true for the payments space, whose regulations, technology, and trends are always changing. Let’s get you caught up on how the regulatory environment could change in 2023, and what it could mean for you and your clients.
In an effort to reduce fees for consumers, the Biden Administration and Congress continue to focus on payment networks and banks. Last year, we talked about the Credit Card Competition Act, a bill that failed to make it through last year’s Congress.
That bill could still become law this year and has bipartisan backing. It seeks to make the payment processing industry more competitive by requiring other payment options beyond Visa and MasterCard, which enjoy the vast majority of payment volume.
This year, the Biden Administration is going after credit card late fees and other “junk fees”. Some of these fees are charged by merchants, rather than banks or processors, and could affect their business if passed.
Let’s dive into what the Junk Fee Prevention Act and other initiatives mean for our members and the merchants we serve.
Card Fees on the Chopping Block
One of the main goals of Biden’s “war on fees” is to reduce penalties for checking accounts and credit cards. These include credit card late fees and “insufficient funds” (ISF) fees for checking accounts.
While banks that get significant revenue from late fees may decide to raise interest rates slightly to make up the difference, reducing credit card late fees and ISF fees probably won’t have a big impact on COCARD or its clients.
The most relevant part of Biden’s junk fee proposal is on the merchant’s side.
Hospitality and Entertainment: Junk Fees in the Crosshairs
Credit card late payment fees: $12 billion in 202 (CFPB estimate)
Bank overdraft and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees: $15.5 billion in 2019 (CFPB estimate)
Hotel resort fees: $2.93 billion in 2018 (NYU estimate)
Airline baggage and change fees: $5.97 billion in 2021 (DOT statistics)
Cable hidden fees: $28 billion in 2019 (Consumer Reports estimate)
Biggest Junk Fee Offenders, According to the White House
In addition to the banking and payments industries, the proposed legislation would impact the hospitality and entertainment industries the most. The Biden Administration seeks to limit or ban hidden fees related to:
The government wants to take on those pesky airline fees. These include fees to sit next to your child, as well as presenting all additional fees (such as airport fees and baggage costs) upfront when comparing prices.
On the heels of a number of Ticketmaster controversies, there has been both a White House and congressional effort to reduce the fees and monopoly associated with concert ticket sales. In a press release, the White House implied that the company enjoys a monopoly on ticket sales for various events since it is often the only option to purchase tickets.
One fee of the type that attracted the ire of regulators is the resort fee. This fee is often added at the very end of a hotel booking. The White House seeks to take on resort fees and other hidden fees for hotels. It also wants those fees to be presented upfront when customers use search engines to book hotels.
The Biden Administration has often focused on telecom companies, which it views as having too much market power. The FTC has proposed “broadband nutrition labels”, which would require cable companies to present the most important aspects of their internet plans upfront.
This includes the monthly price, internet speed, and any data caps applied to the plan.
What it Means for Us:
COCARD’s services and products are unlikely to be impacted by the Junk Fee Prevention Act. However, our clients in different industries, such as hospitality, may be affected. We probably won’t see higher card fees on the merchant’s side as a result of these new initiatives.
The Credit Card Competition Act could complicate the payments space, but COCARD will be well ahead of the game. We’ll tailor our services to new legislation and rules, minimizing headaches for the members and merchants in our network.
COCARD: Leaning into Change
We know that market changes can come quickly and have a major impact on your business. Many of these changes, such as a shifting economic or regulatory landscape, are simply out of our control.
In over twenty years of operation, COCARD has provided our network with the best-split rates, products, and support to make sure we always change for the better. Our member-owners know that in any weather, we’re the best in the business.
While we can’t always control the environment we work in, we can always anticipate changes to stay ahead. We’ll continue to monitor the political environment, including pending legislation and executive actions, to make sure we’re on the winning end of any new policies.
Get in touch to today to learn how COCARD stays ahead in a fluid industry.