Swipe Fee Cuts May Be Delayed

Senate lawmakers are working to delay the hotly-debated fee cuts for debit card "swipes," according to the New York Post.

According to the Post, lawmakers could present and vote as early as this week a bill called the Debit Interchange Fee Study Act, which calls for a year-long study of the fees banks charge retailers when customers swipe their debit cards during purchases. Passage would push back for at least a year rule changes proposed by the Federal Reserve in December that would lower swipe fees from 63 cents to between 7 and 12 cents.

Banks claim these fees fund their fraud protection efforts, and these drastic cuts would cost them billions in revenues, and could push them to eliminate or limit debit card purchases, the Post said.

Earlier in the month, more than 100 small retailers trekked to Capitol Hill to ask Congress to protect billions of dollars in pending cuts in the fees, according to FBN's Peter Barnes. The small businesses say this money will help them grow and create jobs, and also provide customers with lower prices.

According to the Federal Reserve, in 2009, consumers used debit cards for nearly 38-billion retail transactions and banks collected more than $16 billion in interchange fees on these purchases.

The act's backer, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) attached the proposal to the Small Business Reauthorization Act, which is currently being debated, in order to speed up the voting process, according to the Post.