Small Business Finance News

Lawmakers Reach Agreement On Debit Card Interchange Fees

Written by Jenna Weiner
Published: 6/25/2010

Lawmakers have now revised an amendment that would limit the debit card swipe fees which banks charge to merchants.

House and Senate lawmakers have reached a compromise on a financial amendment which would allow for the Federal Reserve to limit debit card interchange fees charged by banks.

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Small business owners say the fees - which average 1 or 2 percent of the transaction - can eat into their profit margins, so limiting those fees should be positive financial news for entrepreneurs.

The revised amendment includes several changes to the original amendment proposed by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. Among those changes are an exemption for cards issued by state governments - which are often used to distribute unemployment or other benefits.

While the proposal will likely result in reduced fee income for all card-issuing financial institutions, smaller community banks have been the most outspoken in their opposition to the bill. The president of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions told the Washington Post that the legislation would "put credit unions at a severe disadvantage compared to large credit card issuers."

In a statement, Durbin added that the congressional conference committee hopes to complete its work on the financial reform bill later this week. Both houses he said, are expected to pass the legislation before July 4.

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