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National Restaurant Association - Lawmakers try to delay swipe-fee reforms

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Lawmakers try to delay swipe-fee reforms

House and Senate lawmakers this week introduced bills to postpone action on skyrocketing merchant debit-card swipe fees. The National Restaurant Association is firing back, with letters to Congress asking lawmakers not to support the legislation.


The issue: The Federal Reserve in December proposed reducing merchant swipe fees for debit cards to a maximum of 7 cents to 12 cents per swipe, about 70 percent below today's fees. The big banks and card companies don't like the rules and have lined up support for bills that would kill the timeline Congress set.

Congress had instructed the Federal Reserve to issue new swipe-fee rules in April and put them into effect by July.

In the Senate, Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) introduced the Debit Interchange Fee Study Act, S. 575, calling for a study and two-year delay in the rules. On the House side, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (D-W.V.) introduced a bill calling for an eight-month study of debit-card swipe fees. Her bill would then give the Federal Reserve Board an extra four months to rework its proposed rules.

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