Bill Introduced To Delay Swipe Fee Reform

Bills were introduced in both the House and Senate to delay “swipe fee reform” by at least a year and they call for a study of its potential effects. The new rules, scheduled to take effect July 21, would cap the fee banks can charge merchants for processing debit card fees at 12 cents per transaction.

Supporters of the delay say that the rule, meant to help merchants and consumers, would actually harm small banks. The rule exempts banks with assets under $10 billion, so smaller banks could continue to charge higher fees. However, since the ruling also allows for retailers to choose processing networks with lower fees, supposedly this could lead to these banks’ cards being rejected by retailers.

A spokesperson for the National Retail Federation I spoke with said this is impossible, because there’s nothing in the magnetic strip that says where the card is coming from and creating some kind of “blacklist” would be onerous and incomplete. In addition, Mastercard and Visa’s merchant agreements have a “honor all cards” rule, which says that if you accept a card with a Mastercard or Visa logo from one bank, you have to accept cards from all banks with those logos on their card.

The bill faces stiff opposition in the Democrat controlled Senate, home of Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill) who was the sponsor of the original law.

Bills would delay swipe fee rules [Washington Post]