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Swipe Fee Windfall

In October, 2009, I wrote The Unintended Consequences of CARD, and discussed how any limit on bank fees would result in them looking to replace that lost income elsewhere.

It took some time, but now I read Swipe fees give retailers a windfall of billions at the expense of consumers, which confirmed this trend is just starting. In this case, the story highlights how Wal-Mart lobbied to reduce swipe fees, the fees paid by merchants to tap into the debit card network. This seems to me to be natural, I’d like to pay lower fees for whatever services I get, why shouldn’t merchants do the same? The article’s author is Bill Cheney, president and CEO of the Credit Union National Association. His beef with this, is the credit unions which get this fee will seek to make it up elsewhere, and the consumer won’t see the savings at the register, the retailers will just pocket that money. Unintended consequences in action.

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