Published June 21, 2011
One month from today the most controversial aspects of Dodd-Frank takes effect: the new swipe-fee rules.
Starting July 21, Dodd-Frank drops the debit-card fees by about 75%, that's a big hit to banks' books!
These fees are paid by merchants for each credit card or debit card purchase and unless the fed steps in, the fees will be capped at 12 cents per transaction. Right now the average is 44 cents.
Banks are furious because it's likely to cost them billions. Next to labor costs, the biggest expense for merchants are these "swipe fees" - totaling nearly $63 billion last year, up 29% in just five years!
Despite the Dodd-Frank rules, as Americans use more plastic and less cash, merchants are doing what they can to reverse the trend. Many are even offering discounts for those who pay in cold, hard cash.
Drugstore chain Walgreens is limiting how much cash-back customers can get when using their debit card; a habit many have gotten into to avoid ATM fees. Many businesses are also imposing a minimum purchase requirement for credit cards, most typically around $10.
And one liquor store in the south will charge those using a card 2% more than those paying with greenbacks! Tower Beer Wine Spirits says that will save them about $40,000 a month in fees!
While merchants and retailers may be on the side of Dodd-Frank, don't be fooled!
Yes some of these small businesses will save money, guess who will be picking up the slack...us! Money given to banks often makes its way back to consumers in the form of rewards programs and free checking accounts.
I don't know if you've looked at your bank or debit card statement lately but many of the nation's largest banks are saying bye-bye to these common perks. This law that was supposed to protect consumers is taking away real consumer benefits and dictating what we can and cannot buy without cash. Thanks, but no thanks!