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Visa hiking fees overseas

While Visa toys with its fees in the United States, high fees for using new Visa debit cards are leading Irish retailers to pass the extra costs onto shoppers, likely in the form of higher prices.

Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland and AIB are currently replacing their Laser cards with new Visa debit cards that have up to 5,000 percent higher fees, according to Independent.ie.

Retailers have to pay up to 1.55 percent per debit card swipe with the new Visa compared to the fixed charge of 15 cents to process a Laser card transaction. The higher charges for retailers would amount to additional fees of $34 million annually.

Retailers said the higher fees would ultimately be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices in order to avoid having to lay off staff, according to Independent.ie.

Retailers did not realize the additional charges until the Visa cards began to roll out.

Businesses owners said that US-owned merchant bank Elavon was responsible for the fees and that Visa debit card transactions processed by Elavon are charged a percentage of the transactions.

Elavon has denied that it sets the retailer fees and said that Visa was behind those fees. Visa, however, then denied that Visa Europe sets retailer fees.

The Central Bank said banks usually need to get permission to hike fees, but there was no permission granted in this case, according to Independent.ie.

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