Merchants, Bankers Square Off In Senate Over Limit On Debit Card Fees

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — A showdown vote in the Senate over a proposed cap on fees that stores charge for a debit card swipe is pitting bankers against merchants — but will consumers lose either way?

KNX 1070’s Chris Sedens reports the Federal Reserve is behind a new push to cut swipe fees by about one-third.

Merchants say existing higher fees force them to charge higher prices and limit their ability to hire new workers.

Ed Mierswinski with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group said the current average fee per transaction of 44 cents is getting passed on to shoppers.

The Federal Reserve proposal calls for a limit of 12 cents per transaction.

“All consumers pay more at stores and at the pump — even if they’re cash customers — because of unfair swipe fees dumped on the small merchants,” said Mierswinski.

Banks and credit card companies are threatening to potentially charge more for checking accounts if the vote passes, but Mierswinski isn’t holding his breath.

“I don’t think that will happen,” said Mierswinski.


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