Consumer Groups, Banks Battle to Influence Fed’s Debit Rules

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Mobile payments with smartphone. Payment terminal concept. Online transactions, paypass and NFC. Cartoon flat style vector illustration.

As the industry waits for the Federal Reserve to issue the initial draft rules regarding debit interchange fee regulation, special interest groups, issuers, and acquirers are converging on the Fed’s Washington offices in an attempt to influence the outcome of the Durbin Amendment.

The importance of this legislation to the payments industry is evident in the often impassioned rhetoric found in the summaries of these meeting.

Recent meetings between Federal Reserve staff members, consumer groups, and payments executives show just how divergent the views are as the Fed prepares the first-ever regulations on U.S. payment card interchange. Consumer groups are pushing for “at-par” debit card interchange—essentially, no interchange. A big regional bank, however, said the Fed “will threaten the future of the payment system in the U.S.” if it doesn’t take the appropriate costs of offering debit cards into account.

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