New 'swipe fee' regulations for debit cards to kick inby Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Starting Saturday, big banks will get a lot less money from merchants who accept debit cards.
Federal regulations are cutting so-called swipe fees for debit cards roughly in half, on average.
The fees generated an estimated $20 billion a year in revenue for the country's largest banks. Some banks are starting to charge customers for debit card use, or will soon do so.
But at this time, US Bank said it has no immediate plans to charge customers for debit cards. Wells Fargo does not assess fees to its Minnesota debit card customers. But the bank will test a monthly $3 debit card activity fee in Georgia, Nevada, Washington, New Mexico and Oregon.
TCF now charges 30 cents for some debit card transactions, depending on which payment network handles the transaction.
Retailers have long complained swipe fees were excessive. The fee cut could save retailers billions of dollars annually and those savings could be critical to many retailers.
"Some retailers may use these fees to stay alive, to stay above water. Some may expand. Some may hire more employees. Some may reduce costs. It's all going to depend on the retailer," said Brian Steinhoff, president of the Minnesota Retailers Association.
Banks say retailers will pocket their savings instead of sharing them with consumers.