Rural residents know what it’s like to live far away from physical financial institution branches, CommunityAmerica Credit Union CEO Lisa Ginter wrote in The Tennessean, but the Credit Card Competition Act would cause losses of credit cards and other financial services. Ginter—who also serves as vice chair on CUNA’s board and chair of CUNA’s Advocacy Committee—says the bill will jeopardize the interchange fees credit unions use to provide affordable credit to rural and underserved communities.
“Without interchange fees, these institutions might have to stop issuing credit cards altogether or increase fees to the point that financial services become unaffordable for many people,” Ginter wrote, adding that a weakened interchange system would result in higher fees and interest rates, along with less security and less access.
“Those are consequences that members of vulnerable communities can ill afford. Their need for credit won’t go away if credit unions and banks scale back their credit card programs. Instead, they’ll be forced to seek credit on more punitive terms from payday lenders and other less regulated institutions,” she wrote. “People with less-than-perfect credit or no credit have greater access to secure financial services thanks, in large part, to the funding provided by the current interchange system.”
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