| October 11, 2010

Interchange fee legislation could lead to savings

However, the interchange fee may be just as important, even though it doesn’t directly affect their monthly bill. The fee, which is charged for every credit card swipe, now goes directly to the retailers, who say that a fee reduction could lead to consumer savings. Although the fees only compose one to three percent of the purchase, the typical family spends over $400 dollars on interchange fees, according to the National Retail Federation.

Last week the U.S. Justice Department sided with merchants in a settlement over the fees. Some predict the decision will offer lower costs to customers who use cash or debit options, according to The Arizona Republic. Some doubt the savings will actually reach consumers.

Kenneth Clayton, a senior vice president at the American Bankers Association, in a statement, “We look forward to seeing whether their new-found pricing authority will actually result in consumer benefit or merely be used to pad their own bottom lines.”

Without the fees, credit companies may raise interest rates and cut back on benefits. Thus whether the fee changes will lead to any consumer savings is as yet unclear.

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