Acceptance of fee-free debit cards may change

John Hirabayashi, CEO and President of Community First Credit Union who counts many St. Johns County employees, including teachers and public safety workers as their members, asked local news reporters at Historic City News to inform our readers of pending legislation Hirabayashi says will adversely impact credit union members.

“I am asking for your help to oppose legislation now being considered by Congress,” Hirabayashi said. “A new bill now being considered in Congress could limit how you use your Community First debit card.”

Hirabayashi says the proposed bill favors big banks over small credit unions by limiting the amount of fees (interchange) that merchants pay when customers use a debit card.

“This bill could allow big, national retailers to pick and choose which debit cards to accept, and limit when and where you can use your card,” Hirabayashi said.

Credit unions offer debit cards as a free benefit to their members. According to Hirabayashi , it costs a great deal of money to offer these cards, including the cost of absorbing fraud losses, providing member service support, and making and sending the cards.

“The interchange fees we receive from retail stores helps us cover those costs and earn a reasonable return for our members,” said Hirabayashi. “This proposed bill would give an advantage to the big, national banks at the expense of credit unions and community banks that would be forced to raise fees for card services – or stop offering debit and credit cards altogether.”

Hirabayashi expressed his concern saying, “I hope you will join Community First Credit Union and take action to oppose the Senate Interchange Amendment or any reform bill that includes changes to the card payment system.”

Please visit http://capwiz.com/cuna/home where you can enter your zip code and send an E-mail directly to your elected leaders.

There is still time to stop this punitive law from being passed, Hirabayashi says. “With the help of our credit union members, we can make our voices heard in Washington and preserve the benefits that come from belonging to a financial cooperative where members help each other.”

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