Credit-card transaction fees are higher—2.5% to 3% per transaction, on average—with rewards cards typically carrying higher charges than other cards.
The truth is retailers will continue to accept all debit cards from all banks. Visa and MasterCard each have the “Honor All Cards Rule.” The rules say if a retailer accepts any Visa debit card, the retailer must accept all debit cards under the Visa name. The same with MasterCard. If the retailer refuses, the card companies can fine the retailer or yank out the retailer’s card privilege. In addition, there is no automated way for a retailer to know at the cash register what fee is charged by a specific card, and it isn’t practical to keep a list of cards or to train thousands of sales associates on which card to accept. Finally, retailers simply aren’t going to turn away a customer with a shopping cart full of merchandise and risk having him or her walk out empty-handed.
“Retailers want to begin passing on swipe fee savings to their customers as soon as possible, and today’s announcement means those plans will be able to move forward as planned despite the anti-consumer efforts of some in Congress,” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “The Fed has received thousands of comments on this proposal and it is appropriate for that input to be carefully and thoroughly reviewed. If they take a few extra weeks, we understand.”
The Fed has proposed capping debit interchange fees at 12 cents per transaction for banks with more than $10 billion in assets. The plan has riled the banking industry—including the community banks and credit unions exempt from the cap—which has continued to push  for the rule to be delayed.
Retailers have their own group, the Merchants Payments Coalition, that’s fighting hard against efforts to delay the cap. It argues that consumers pay more for goods and services to compensate for excessive swipe fees.
Mallory Duncan (Senior Vice President, General Counsel, National Retail Federation): “We think pretty lowly of it. This is an area that has been studied to death. Merchants have been paying these fees for too long…. At some point, enough is enough. “
Senator Richard Durbin, the Democratic author of the fee limit, has argued a delay is simply a tactic to buy time for a repeal.