House, Senate Leaders Agree on Credit-Card Fees

WASHINGTON — Senate and House leaders reached an agreement Monday that paves the way for credit- and debit-card interchange fees to be regulated for the first time.

WASHINGTON — Senate and House leaders reached an agreement Monday that paves the way for credit- and debit-card interchange fees to be regulated for the first time.

The Senate had previously agreed to an amendment to the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 that would require debit-card interchange fees charged by major banks to reflect the actual costs of processing the transactions, but the House version did not have such language.

The compromise, led by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and key supporters in the House, preserves much of what retailers were seeking in the legislation, according to reports.

Retailers have long protested that the fees set by Visa and MasterCard are exorbitant and leave little room for merchants to offer cheaper alternatives to their customers.

In a prepared statement, the Retail Industry Leaders Association said, "The negotiated language is a major step in the right direction, towards putting consumers and small businesses ahead of the interests of big banks and credit card companies. The core of Sen. Durbin’s amendment to rein in excessive swipe fees was preserved."

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