The Senate narrowly voted earlier today to defeat a measure to delay new rules that significantly decrease swipe fees, the amount of money banks charge retailers every time a debit card is used.
Starting next month, the largest banks will only be allowed to charge retailers $.12 per transaction on debit card purchases. The current swipe fee averages $.44 per transaction.
Senator Jon Tester of Montana had been leading the charge against swipe fee reform, arguing that small banks would be hurt by the rules, even though a majority of small banks (those with under $10 billion in assets) are exempt. He had initially proposed a two-year delay in enacting the new rules, but later shortened that to one. Supporters of the delay required 60 votes from the Senate but were only able to garner 54.