Credit card swipe fees have become a battleground for businesses over the last few years. The Fed had calculated an average cost per transaction of 4 cents with a cap of 21 cents -- according to the Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection and Wall Street Reform Act -- and while that may not seem like a huge number, when you multiply that by hundreds of swipes a day it quickly adds up to something that is more difficult to handle.
Recently, the National Retail Federation (NRF) posted an article examining the impact that these fees have created over the last few years. Since July 2013, there have been two major legal matters that could have widespread implications when they are eventually settled, both of which we have covered before.
The first is the ruling last July by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon that decided the 21-cent cap for transaction fees is too high. The Federal Reserve was ordered to recalculate and settle on a smaller number. The Fed appealed the ruling and won, but retail groups have said they plan to keep fighting it.
The second is the lawsuit between a group of retailers and card providers Visa and MasterCard alleging a conspiracy to charge higher swipe fees that cost retailers $30 billion per year. This ended in a $5.7 billion settlement back in December 2013. However, some of the retailers rejected the settlement for various reasons -- too low, not all agreed and it didn't address the issue, to name a few. Since then, several retailers have pulled out and filed separate lawsuits against the card providers, alleging the same things.
This fight is far from over and the right merchant service provider can help any business stay up-to-date on how the industry is changing.