The CEOs of Amex, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa have banded together with the CEOs from payments giants FIS, Fiserv, and Global Payments to form the Payments Leadership Council (PLC), per Payments Dive. The PLC’s inaugural statement highlighted the importance and need for electronic payments, and it also outlined the council’s ambitions to “work with policymakers to promote inclusive growth, protect consumers, foster inclusion, cultivate innovation, and support a dynamic ecosystem for payments.” The council brought in Raj Date, former deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to serve as its founding director.
The PLC’s formation comes as tensions rise regarding some of its corporate members’ plans to raise card fees next month. Here’s what has been happening:
The Payments Leadership Council may be a response to this mounting pressure from legislators to put off card fee increases. The anticipated card fee increases aren’t mentioned in the PLC’s inaugural statement, but it may have been one of the reasons the council formed in the first place. Card networks like Visa and Mastercard don’t directly benefit from card fees, but their partner banks and merchant acquirers do. So, increasing fees could serve as a way for card networks to maintain and strengthen their relationships with other payment institutions. Therefore, the formation of the PLC may have come about as a way to lobby against the potential of additional regulation that could make it harder to hike up card fees, especially with prominent card fees critic Durbin spearheading the legislative initiative.
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