| August 5, 2010

California Legislature introduces bill to further rein in swipe fees

While previous federal laws gave the government control over what credit card companies could charge merchants for swipe fees, a new law in California could take it one step further.

According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, one state senator has introduced a bill that would make it illegal for merchants to pass the swipe fees that credit card companies charge for every purchase made on a debit card onto consumers. The bill, which passed the state Senate by a wide majority and will move onto the state Assembly later this week, is designed to save consumers money.

“If you can’t charge something on a credit card, then the purchase price of paying with a debit card is higher than credit,” a staffer for state Senator Jenny Oropeza told the paper. “This is affecting the most susceptible of Californians, and we need to protect them.”

Merchants say that if this bill passes, it will cost them thousands of dollars a year. Stores typically build any interchange fees into the cost of the item.

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