Law & Order

Government Moves to Limit Debit-Card Swipe Fees

The Federal Reserve Board issued a proposed rule to limit swipe fees imposed on retailers when accepting debit card payments. Under the recently enacted financial reform law, the Federal Reserve is authorized to define what are “reasonable and proportional” debit card transaction fees. The Federal Reserve’s power, however, does not extend to credit card fees charged by a network (MasterCard, Visa, etc.).

The Federal Reserve has proposed two approaches for regulating debit card fees. The first would combine issuer-specific standards, a cap on fees and an overall safe harbor of $.07 per transaction. The other approach would simply establish a $.12-per-transaction fee cap. For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at