"Where's my debit discount?"
That question is the premise behind a new website, WheresMyDebitDiscount.com, sponsored by the Electronic Payments Coalition, or EPC. The EPC is a group of about 60 banks, banking industry associations, credit unions and payment card networks that handle electronic payments between merchants and consumers.
The website claims that retailers promised to pass along savings from lower debit card interchange fees to consumers and haven't kept those promises. Instead, the website says, retailers are realizing millions of dollars in savings, yet still raising consumer prices.
"Thanks to a regulation from Congress, starting Oct. 1, 2011, retailers began paying a lot less to accept debit cards. And they promised to pass the savings on to you," the website states. "But they aren't keeping that promise."
The website has three sections: "In the News" contains links to media articles. "Broken Promises" offers a few quotes from retail executives and industry organizations. "Get the Truth" describes the federal law, known as the Durbin Amendment, and directs readers to an EPC research paper about recent rises in retail prices. Also included is a link to the EPC website.
The retailers don't seem to have a website dedicated to the Durbin Amendment. But they have filed a lawsuit against the federal government, claiming the new swipe fee caps, set by the Federal Reserve, are still "unjustifiably" higher than the law requires.
The Fed determined that banks spend 4 cents, on average, to process debit card transactions. The cap sets the maximum debit card swipe fee, paid by the retailer, at 21 cents, plus 0.05 percent of the transaction amount. In most cases, an additional 1 cent can be added for fraud prevention efforts.
The cap took effect Oct. 1. Financial institutions with less than $10 billion in assets are exempt.
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