NRF: Swipe fee fix battle 'isn't over'

WASHINGTON Despite the signing of a financial-reform legislation that will curb the credit and debit card swipe fees paid by retailers and their customers each year, the National Retail Federation said it's only the tip of the iceberg.

While President Obama on Wednesday signed H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act of 2010 -- named for Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass. -- NRF president and CEO Matt Shay said that while the legislation “is a dramatic first step in the fight to control rising credit and debit card fees and has tremendous potential for savings,” he added that big banks may press such regulators as the Federal Reserve “as it drafts the regulations intended to result in the ‘reasonable’ debit card fees sought by Congress.”

Shay said, “Congress realizes that debit cards are simply plastic checks, and has said the Federal Reserve should look at them with paper checks in mind. The result shouldn’t be swipe fees being cut by a quarter or even a half. The result should be plastic checks that get paid at essentially face value.”

Swipe fees –– officially known as interchange fees –– are a percentage of the transaction charged by card company banks each time a card is swiped to pay for a purchase.

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