Retailers to ask US Supreme Court to hear ‘swipe fee’ case
by. Emily Stephenson
A group of retail merchants will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case involving Federal Reserve rules that allow banks to charge debit card “swipe fees” that retailers view as too high, an attorney for the merchants said on Monday.
“Given how extensive these fees are and how they affect virtually every transaction that takes place in the United States… it’s a serious case that the Supreme Court ought to hear,” said Doug Kantor, an attorney with Steptoe & Johnson in Washington who represents the retailers.
Fed spokeswoman Barbara Hagenbaugh said the Fed was aware of the retailers’ decision and would work on a response.
Businesses pay the fees, also known as interchange fees, to banks when customers use debit cards to purchase goods or services. The fees are set by Visa and MasterCard and reimburse banks for costs involved in providing the cards.
The 2010 Dodd-Frank law called for the Fed to cap the fees, which were about 44 cents per transaction at the time. Retailers had argued the fees were too high and led to higher prices for consumers.continue reading »