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Senate votes against delay for debit card transaction cap

The Senate voted last week against an amendment that would delay the Federal Reserve Board’s authority to cap fees on debit card transactions.

The proposed amendment, however, caused several senators to modify their position on the regulation, according to American.com.

The regulation limits “the amount of technology that goes toward each transaction.”

The original regulation passed last May as part of the Dodd-Frank consumer protection and Wall Street reform law in response to retailer complaints that banks were making billions of dollars by overcharging for each debit card swipe.

Debate last week focused on an amendment created to “compromise,” according to sponsors Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn). The amendment proposed a 12 month delay for the Fed to study the implications before capping the fees by as much as 84 percent. The final vote was 54-45, with 12 senators who voted for the regulation voting for the delay.

Revelations that the rule could stifle innovation, however, prompted second thoughts, according to American.com. A day before the vote, Corker said on the floor that these large profits are directed to substantial investments in new payment systems that involve costly research and development.

“I hope very soon to be paying my bills by just swiping my electronic device in front of a cash register,” Corker said during the colloquy with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), according to American.com.

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