By Dan EggenWashington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 12, 2011; 5:54 PM
Banks and credit-card lobbyists lost big last year when Congress approved new restrictions on billions of dollars in debit-card fees charged to retailers. Now with more GOP allies in Congress, they hope to try again.
Under proposed rules issued by the Federal Reserve last month, the so-called interchange fee, or "swipe fee," on debit cards issued by major banks would be capped at 12 cents, which is about 70 percent lower than the average fee on such transactions last year. The Fed was required to address the issue as part of the Wall Street reform legislation passed by Congress. The proposed cap has been hailed by consumer groups and major retailers as a necessary curb on the interchange fees, which are set by card processors such as Visa and MasterCard and paid to banks by retailers. But the lower fees are strongly opposed by banks and credit-card firms, which argue that they will be forced to make up for the lost revenue by charging consumers in other ways. The American Bankers Association and other business groups are lobbying lawmakers and regulators to reconsider the policy. "We oppose price fixing just in principle, and that's what this is," said ABA executive vice president Floyd Stoner. "Congress does address things and go back and look at things in a lot of arenas. We believe it can happen here."
www.e-PINDebit.com www.iPINDebit.com www.PINDebit.mobi