WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Lance Gooden requested a comprehensive review by the Government Accountability Office detailing the federal government's interchange fee expenses over the last five fiscal years.

This request highlights the exorbitant credit card interchange or "swipe" fees, a staggering burden the federal government and, in turn, American taxpayers, bear to the tune of $240 million every year.
Visa and Mastercard have a stranglehold on the credit card market, collectively accounting for 83% of general-purpose credit cards and raking in billions yearly in fees.

Gooden's letter, co-lead by Senator Dick Durbin, shines a light on a 2008 GAO report, which found federal entities were helpless in negotiating lower interchange fees.

Since 2010, over $2 billion in taxpayer funds has been spent on swipe fees. This not only underscores a significant drain on public funds but highlights a profound competitive imbalance and the need for a detailed and updated analysis from the non-partisan GAO.

"This credit card duopoly is not just a threat to market competition, but a glaring example of corporate greed," said Rep. Gooden. "Washington is effectively subsidizing Visa and Mastercard with taxpayer dollars. Every swipe fee is an unnecessary tax on the American people and a government handout to Wall Street. If the federal government is unable to competitively negotiate interchange fees, how can we expect small businesses?"

“The Visa-Mastercard duopoly and the nation’s largest banks that issue their cards wield enormous market power in the credit card system, and they use that power to impose excessive fees, including on the federal government,” said Durbin.  “We should inject real market competition into a credit card industry that for years has been lining Wall Street’s pockets with excessive fees borne by Main Street consumers, small businesses, and U.S. taxpayers.”

Read the full letter here.