Interchange cap debated in Washington

The 21-cent debit-interchange cap that was put into effect in 2011 is being debated in Washington.

The anti-trust settlement and ensuing quagmire of legal action involving MasterCard, Visa and several major retailers has garnered headlines when it comes to payment swipe fee regulations, but there is another interesting debate brewing.

A recent article from PYMNTS recapped the current conversation about the 21-cent debit-interchange cap that was put into effect in 2011. Last summer, a federal judge overturned the ruling decision, stating that the amount was too high.

On January 17, parties on both sides of the debate laid out their feelings in front of a three-judge panel in Washington D.C. The appeals court is still mulling the information.

"Nearly four years after the law was passed, debit-swipe fees are still far higher than they should be, and banks are raking in billions of dollars in unearned profits every year as a result," Mallory Duncan, federation senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.

She went on to say that the Fed gave into pressure from the banks instead of following what Congress ordered. Because of this, retailers and customers are paying the price. It is now time for the Fed to go back and follow the law instead of catering to the industry it is supposed to regulate.

Accepting credit and debit cards is almost a necessity for retailers to be successful. Because of this, merchant credit card processing has become a more critical piece of daily operations. The fees attached to it can get out of control if left unchecked and the ability to accept plastic suddenly transforms into something that is detrimental for business.

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