WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers are wedged in the middle of a fight between bankers and merchants as the Senate stages a showdown vote over whether to limit fees that stores pay financial institutions every time a debit card is swiped.
The vote planned for Wednesday is on an effort to block a Federal Reserve proposal to limit debit card swipe fees to 12 cents per transaction. That’s down from their current average of 44 cents per purchase.
Merchants say existing higher fees force them to charge higher prices and limit their ability to hire new workers. Banks and credit card companies say the proposed lower fees don’t consider all their costs and would force them to find new revenue by taking steps like charging more for checking accounts.