"Treasurers from at least eight states are considering sending a letter to lawmakers this week over concerns that proposed limits on the fees card issuers charge for processing purchases could endanger state programs that use prepaid cards to dispense crucial benefits such as unemployment insurance."
The Washington Post, 6/1/10
"Congress is mulling changes to the fees and restrictions that banks and credit card companies can place on merchants that accept credit and debit cards, but the changes may not have as positive an effect on consumers as retailers have suggested…For a lesson in what might happen, [Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com] points to Australia, which slashed interchange fees in 2003. Because they lost the fee income, he says, banks reduced credit card reward programs, increased annual fees and required customers to pay credit card bills sooner."
USA Today, 5/25/10
"Somehow I doubt that merchants would throw a parade and immediately cut all prices by half a percentage point on every item on the day this bill goes into effect, if it comes to pass. . . . It will be hard for merchants to point to the vague idea of less-steep increases and satisfy angry customers who may suddenly be paying $10 a month for a checking account or earning half as many debit card rewards because their bank can’t afford to be as generous."
The New York Times, 5/21/10
"The bad news for consumers: Banks are expected to respond to the regulatory shake-up with more fees on basic services such as checking accounts. Merchants will be permitted to set minimum-purchase amounts for credit-card transactions. . . . It isn't clear, though, if merchants will pass along their savings on so-called interchange fees to customers."
The Wall Street Journal, 5/21/10
"But even if the amendment becomes law, it's unclear whether savings from reductions in debit card swipe fees would trickle down to consumers in the form of lower prices, or would largely be kept by merchants."
Associated Press, 5/14/10
"Industry analysts warn that, even if the provision ends up saving consumers some money, the impact could be complicated. Banks could raise other fees to offset the income they currently reap on debit transactions, for example. Also, consumers could be inconvenienced if growing numbers of merchants add minimum-purchase rules that force people to use cash."
Christian Science Monitor, 5/14/10
"Of course, a limit on interchange fees will help Wal-Mart far more than it helps Mom's Diner. The Senate's faux-populist action is really about big companies' profit margins, not about the consumer."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/21/10
"[The amendment] allows retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Target Corp to shift their cost for accepting debit cards onto the backs of consumers."
"Consumers may be forced to rethink the way they pay for some purchases because a provision in the bill allows federal regulators to investigate interchange fees . . . The goal is to limit how much profit the banks make in these transactions, and while that seems to be a noble goal, it may backfire for consumers."
U.S. News & World Report, 5/21/10