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U.S. Supreme Court to Address Debit Card Swipe Fees


Retailers of all types may soon gain some relief from the cost of debit card swipes for purchases, which are currently $0.21, an additional $.01 for fraud prevention plus .05 percent of the transaction amount that is pegged for fraud recovery efforts.

The nation’s highest court has granted a petition filed by a North Dakota convenience store to revive a two-year-old lawsuit over a 2011 Federal Reserve rule that capped interchange fees that banks charge merchants to process debit card transactions. The retailer, Corner Post of Watford City, ND, alleges current swipe fees are higher than Congress intended and are driving up prices for consumers and costs for retailers despite lower transaction processing costs for financial institutions.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiff, it may result in a significant reduction in debit card swipe fees and would expand opportunities for additional challenges to federal regulations.

According to the National Retail Federation, debit and credit card fees are among merchants’ highest costs after labor, equaling $29.6 billion in 2022 and contributing to a record $160.7 billion in card processing fees over the last decade.