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Ear to the Ground

Retail Debit Fees May Be Capped

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Posted on May 15, 2010
Flickr / soathevy

Under an amendment passed by the Senate this week, debit card charges would be limited, though credit card charges would remain untouched.

The beleaguered banking industry suffered yet another blow Thursday evening after the Senate voted to impose price controls on debit transactions, a move that follows years of begging by retailers for governmental limits on the high charges demanded by banks every time a consumer swipes a debit card. The amendment is in a bill that still must win Senate approval.—JCL

The New York Times:

Retailers have begged Congress for years, in vain, to limit the fees they must pay to banks when customers swipe credit or debit cards. Bills never reached a vote. Amendments were left on the table. The Senate did not even grant the courtesy of a committee hearing.

That long record of futility ended in a landslide Thursday night. Sixty-four senators, including 17 Republicans, agreed to impose price controls on debit transactions over the furious objections of the beleaguered banking industry.

The amendment to the Senate’s sweeping financial legislation could save billions of dollars for family restaurants and dry cleaners, Wal-Mart and Amazon.com, and every other business whose customers increasingly pay with debit cards. It does not address credit card fees directly.

Consumers also could save money, particularly at businesses like grocery stores that compete on price. But some experts warned that lower profit margins could lead banks to curtail bank card reward programs.

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By melena, May 16, 2010 at 10:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

this is great news. I never understood why banks can offer rewards programs that are then paid by the merchants. If I want to give my customers a discount I decide how and when, not I have to earn less so the the bank can get all the good publicity and earnings.

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By Granny, May 16, 2010 at 9:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The The New York Times suggests the banking industry is beleaguered.

Beleaguered: To harass; beset: as in, We are beleaguered by problems.

I think beleaguered should be replaced by Besieged: as in, We are surrounded by hostile forces.

But I wont be happy until I see besieged replaced by the adjective Conquered: as in, decisively defeated.

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, May 15, 2010 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

#1. Who in hell needs “bank card reward programs?” This crap is for complete fools who are the only people stupid enough to think that the banks are running those programs for THE BENEFIT OF THEIR CUSTOMERS.

#2. No one will ever charge me a fee to pay for something. I will pay with “legal tender” - you know - that stuff the government prints, that we call cash… or just not pay. I’ll do without if my creditor-to-be won’t take cash.

#3. I should get a discount of at least 5% for paying cash… the retailer doesn’t have to pay anyone a fee for accepting cash… he/she just has to get off their lazy butts and take the damned stuff to the bank once in a while.

#4. (and final rant). The banking business is, on the whole, LEGALIZED THEFT. How many other franchises, other than perhaps McDonald’s and Burger King, have swallowed up valuable real estate like banks have (and at least you get something for your money at those centers of unhealthly eating)?

Look in the downtowns of every city… many of the MAJOR buildings are owned by BANKS. Like man, where did a business whose only contribution to the common good is shuffling paper around, get all the money to own/build all those billion dollar buildings? Right… THEY STEAL IT FROM “LITTLE PEOPLE” - dollar by dollar… for DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

I haven’t been inside a bank for 30 years and will never do so again. Only because I have to have somewhere to deposit pension cheques I use a Credit Union… but inch by inch, even they’re becoming indistinguishable from banks. Believe it or not my Credit Union is now going to charge me ONE DOLLAR ($1.00) per month for having an account there. Doesn’t seem to matter they aren’t paying me ONE PENNY interest on the several thousands of dollars on deposit. So they get to loan out my thousands at 8% AND charge me for loaning them the money to do it! It’s out and out THEFT.

The day they try to charge me for using any in/out transactions from my account or their “plastic” is the day I use cash exclusively… and mostly “under the table” - amazing the discounts you can get from some trades when you don’t need to bother with the “paperwork.”

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By PatrickHenry, May 15, 2010 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

We need to end the fed and have the treasury go back to issuing gold and siver backed currency.

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