Now that new regulations cap the dollar amount banks collect from merchants every time someone pays with a debit card, some in the retail industry are saying that savings can now be passed on to consumers.
Under the new regulations, which took effect Oct. 1, the interchange or swipe fees banks charge merchants to process debit-card purchases have been capped at no more than 21 cents per transaction. That fee used to come in closer to about 44 cents, but the new limit is also more than the 12 cent cap the Federal Reserve initially proposed. That proposed limit was nixed after banks lobbied for a higher cap, saying that lost revenue would need to be made up by increasing other charges and fees for consumers.
According to the National Retail Federation, retailers are developing ways to pass savings from lower swipe fees on to customers in the way of lower prices and better value. "Change won't come overnight, but consumers will definitely benefit," said NRF senior vice president and general counsel Mallory Duncan.
Few retailers have yet to announce specific programs to pass this savings on to consumers, however. But on the other hand, banks have just started to detail new pricing structures for swipe-fees to retailers. Even though the new regulations set a 21 cent cap, actual fee schedules will still be up to the card companies and processors.
Meanwhile, some banks are announcing new fees associated with debit cards that hit consumers directly.
Retailers Seeking Ways to Pass Swipe-Fee Saving on to Consumers [CSP Daily News]