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Credit card swipe fees next on retailer lobbying agenda

Even before the Durbin Amendment went into effect, retailers and the financial industry had already started prepping themselves to for next big legislative battle – credit card fees.

The retail industry currently pays banks approximately $30 billion annually in credit card swipe fees, according to CreditCards.org, but there is no indication that any savings to consumers would be passed on if Congress enacted a cap on the fees.

As soon as the Federal Reserve released its final rule on the Durbin Amendment, retailers immediately began backing down from promises to share their savings with their consumers. The cap, they argued, was set too high.

Now retailers are gathering liberal support and consumer advocate dollars to launch an aggressive lobbying campaign for a credit card swipe fees cap.

Financial observers say this could lead to three potential outcomes, according to CreditCards.org. Either the retail industry backs down, the retail industry prevails, or the retailers come to an agreement with the financial institutions.

If the first scenario plays out, retailers may start making up their losses in credit card swipe fees by raising prices. In the second scenario, banks will continue to add new and raise existing fees in order to make up for the lost revenue. The third may ease the costs for retailers only slightly.

Financial experts agree that consumers are going to be the ones paying higher fees for basic services, according to CreditCards.org.

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