Cash-carrying customers could catch a break if a couple of Senators have their way. Senators Durbin and Bond are trying to push legislation that, if passed, would allow retailers to offer discounts to debit-card users and put an end to restrictions that payment networks such as MasterCard and Visa place on retailers who charge less for non-credit-card transactions.
From the Wall Street Journal:
"The extra charges the establishment has to pay for the use of a credit card are kind of hidden inflaters in the cost of the product," said Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.), who is pushing the measure with Sen. Christopher Bond (R., Mo.).
Small banks and credit unions, which stand to lose revenue if consumers cut back card use, are pushing back, along with the rest of the card industry.
Retailers seeking the change "do not want to pay their fair share for the significant benefits they get when accepting debit and credit," said Trish Wexler, a spokeswoman for the Electronic Payments Coalition, a group representing bankers and credit card networks.
My guess is that this proposed legislation, which is part of the larger credit-card bill in front of the Senate, will not survive. Banks, which have every incentive to make sure that consumers keep using plastic, will do all they can to put this proposed legislation to sleep.
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