Interchange Fees – The Fight Over Loose Change
The 12 rounds of boxing between the Government and the banking industry seems to be headed towards the 13th round. The new law known as the Durbin Amendment reduces the interchange fees for debit transactions down to a flat 12 cents instead of the ~1.14% average fee of the sales price. In typical fashion, the banks are finding other ways to recoup these potential losses. Even though Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore introduced legislation on March 16, 2011 to delay the Durbin Amendment until a comprehensive study could be performed, banks are going on the offensive. JP Morgan Chase announced on Monday, March 21, 2011 that they will no longer offer debit-card rewards for the majoirty of its customers in July. The elimination of the debit-card rewards program by Chase was reported by Bloomberg. The July cutoff is no coincidence as the flat interchange fee becomes law on July 21, 2011.
The below infographic provides both sides of the story. On one hand there are people that believe the reduction in fees will lead to cost savings for the consumer. While others will point to the reduction of interchange fees in Australia in 2003 and how the Aussies never saw an uptick in the economy or reduction in the costs of goods and services. In actuality many Australians complain that prices stayed the same, while they did see an increase in banking fees, loss of free checking, and the elimination of debit-card rewards programs.