Under the Durbin Amendment, banks can charge as much as they like for debit card swipe fees as long as the amount is set independently and competitively. Those who refuse, however, are subject to a limit that has cut the high, monopolistic fees roughly in half.
Surprisingly, not a single major bank has taken advantage of this opportunity to compete. While all have lowered their fees, each continues to charge the same as the others. Consumers have saved about $6 billion a year because lower swipe fees mean lower prices. But the opportunity for competition has been squandered.
Now, banks are asking Congress to repeal the Durbin Amendment so they can go back to unencumbered price-fixing swipe fees at ever-higher levels. Doing so would mean higher prices for shoppers. Worse yet, a chance to replace a rigged market with competition would be lost.
It's time to tell Congress a vote to repeal the Durbin Amendment is a vote against competition. If you think banks should compete, sign our petition.
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