Lower Debit Card Swipe Fees Narrowly Survive in Senate

A law capping debit card swipe fees at 12 cents per transaction is set to take effect next month. The pending law was in jeopardy last week after an attempt to preserve the current higher swipe fees came within six votes of passage in the U.S. Senate. Swipe fees currently average 44 cents per transaction.

The Senate needed 60 votes to block the new law, but only 54 senators voted in favor of doing so. Credit card companies are opponents of placing caps on swipe fees, which lead all forms of noncash payment. In 2009, swipe fees totaled approximately $16 billion. Retailers were pleased at the failed Senate blockage, seen as a Wall Street attempt at making more money at the expense of consumers in a tough economy.

Senator Jon Tester of Montana wanted to delay the cap fees in order to study the effect on smaller financial institutions and credit unions. Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois defended the cap fees and said smaller institutions with less than $10 billion could still collect the higher swipe fees, under the pending law.

Regardless of lower swipe fees, reckless consumer spending has led to increased Chapter 7 filings. A Washington DC bankruptcy attorney can guide you through bankruptcy if you need a fresh financial start to your life. Contact a Washington DC attorney for a free telephone consultation.

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