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MasterCard accuses government of price fixing

More than a month after the Durbin Amendment went into effect, debit card issuers are still questioning Congress for capping the amount that could be charged for debit card transactions.

“We’re only 33 days into the new era," Leland Englebardt, MasterCard Inc.’s group head of global network products, said to a round of applause at an industry conference on Wednesday, AmericanBanker.com reports. "Of government price-fixing.”

The banking industry has accused the government of price-fixing since Congress proposed to cap the amount they could collect on interchange fees, which is expected to cost the industry more than $5 billion in annual revenues.

Englebardt, however, said that the government’s actions “are what they are,” according to AmericanBanker.com.

Financial experts recently questioned the impact of the Durbin Amendment on merchants, saying that it is not certain that the new regulations will save merchants money in the long run.

While merchants have reported saving millions of dollars, changes made by large banks are expected to cost the merchants more than they were originally paying in interchange feeds.

Additionally, new fees on debit cards are expected to make consumers more reluctant to make impulsive purchases. Incentives for using cash are also expected to undercut the supposed positive effects of the Durbin Amendment.

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