Visa says disappointed with Durbin Amendment

Fri May 21, 2010 10:05am EDT

(Reuters) - Credit card network Visa Inc said it was disappointed with an amendment that was passed along with the U.S. Senate financial regulation bill late on Thursday that would limit interchange fees.

The fees are a major source of revenue for banks and, indirectly, for payments networks Visa and MasterCard Inc.

The amendment was proposed by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, last week. It allows retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Target Corp to shift their cost for accepting debit cards onto the backs of consumers.

"Written and backed by lobbyists representing the nation's largest retailers, the Durbin Amendment could significantly harm consumers," Visa said in a statement.

On May 19, Visa Chief Executive Officer Joseph Saunders visited lawmakers in Washington, DC, in an attempt to forestall legislation that would restrict debit card fees.

The U.S. Senate approved a sweeping Wall Street reform bill on Thursday night, capping months of wrangling over the biggest overhaul of financial regulation since the 1930s.

Visa shares, which have fallen about 22 percent over the last month, closed down about 0.2 percent at $72.82 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)