NRF: Swipe fees haven't dropped enough

Swipe fee dropped to average of 24 cents in Q4 2011

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation is responding to a report from the Federal Reserve that revealed that debit card swipe fees collected by the nation's largest banks have dropped significantly since reform regulations took effect last fall.

The Federal Reserve's report showed that the average debit card swipe fee charged by large banks covered under last year's regulations dropped to an average of 24 cents in fourth quarter 2011, down from an average of 43 cents in 2009. Debit swipe fees for banks with less than $10 billion in assets, which were not covered by the regulations, remained unchanged as expected.

The NRF, however, said the decrease in swipe fees charged is not enough and expressed disappointment over this result.

"We believe the numbers for the big banks are too high and had the Fed followed the law there would be significantly greater savings for merchants and their customers," NRF SVP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. "This is working the way the Fed set it up to work, but the Fed didn't fully comply with what Congress required. This is better than paying the full monopoly prices we paid before but they are still partial monopoly prices."

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