Debit Card Fees Set to Fall

Thanks to new legislation, debit card swipe fees may soon go down. On June 8, the U.S. Senate rejected an amendment that would have delayed the capping of swipe fees for two years. The vote was 54-45. To pass, 60 votes were needed.

Swipe fees are charges that banks levy upon merchants to process debit cards. “Swipe fee reform” was included as an amendment to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—signed by President Obama in July 2010—which lets the Federal Reserve determine rates for swipe fees. As a result, the fees, which currently average 44 cents per swipe, are set to be limited to 21 cents a swipe.

The banking industry has criticized the measure and repeatedly tried to delay its implementation, including launching lawsuits against it. But barring a successful court challenge, the new caps will go into effect July 21. Credit card fees are not impacted.

The National Retail Federation called the Senate vote a “landmark victory” for consumers. The group has said it plans to push for legislation on credit card fees.