Swipe fees drop

Jeremy Hobson: One of the biggest reforms from to come out of the financial crisis takes effect tomorrow. Large banks will have to cut transaction fees they charge store owners for swiping debit cards. Those fees add up to about $13 billion. The banks have a plan to make up the difference, and it involves you and me.

Here's our Washington Bureau Chief John Dimsdale.


John Dimsdale: Bank of America just tacked a $5 fee on debit card accounts. Wells Fargo, Suntrust and Chase are among the banks trimming their debit card rewards. Others are charging for a printed monthly statement.

Bill Hardekopf: Free checking as we know it is becoming harder and harder to find.

Bill Hardekopf heads the consumer credit website LowCards.com. He says consumers will be buffeted between banks raising fees on debit cards and merchants offering incentives to use them over credit cards.

Hardekopf: You will see the retailers suggesting, when you reach in your wallet, 'Hey is that a debit card you're using? Just punch in your PIN number right there.'

Banks say stores may not pass on their windfall. But Matt Arnold, a retail analyst with Edward Jones, says competition will take care of that.

Matt Arnold: All it takes is one retailer to lower their price and pass through the lower swipe fee and the others are pretty much forced to follow suit.

Pretty soon, stores could be offering discounts or even faster checkout lines for debit card users.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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