Durbin Amendement faces critics

Tools

The Durbin Amendement was sold to the public and to Congress with this tantalizing promise: Retailers, which would see their interchange fees on debit card swipes significantly reduced, would then turn around and reduce prices, making consumers the ultimate winners of the landmark legislation.

So has it panned out that way?

Not if you ask the banks and their lobbyist the Electronic Payments Coalition (EPC) which has argued that gas retailers, at which many people use debit cards, has reaped savings of about $1 billion a year--but they have not slashed prices in a way that transfers this effective subsidy to customers. 

"There continues to be no evidence that retailers are passing along savings," according to an EPC release. "No one is surprised to see that gas retailers are keeping billions of dollars for themselves, while their customers continue to be punished at the pump. Americans should go to their gas stations and demand what's theirs - a discount for debit."

The EPC wants consumers to demand discounts. Certainly, banks would like some relief, though they may have to live with the law as is. The conclusions were contested by fuel industry groups, which said the conclusions were flat-out wrong.

For more:
- here's the release

Related articles:
Credit card interchange fees loom as big revenue source
Banks defend ATM, debit card fees