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Changes in debit card fees; how much it’s going to cost you to swipe your card

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Credit cards

A federal appeals court on Friday agreed with a Federal Reserve rule that placed a 21-cent cap on swipe fees that banks charge retail stores for each debit card transaction.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a lower court ruling that sided with retailers saying the Fed should lower fees even more.

The ruling is a win for the Federal Reserve and the banks. For consumers, nothing is expected to change.

The fight over swipe fees stems from new laws enacted after the U.S. financial crisis. Congress ordered the Federal Reserve to ensure that fees to process debit card purchases were “reasonable.” At that time, the average fee per transaction was about 40 cents. 

After initially proposing to limit fees to 12 cents, the central bank issued a final rule in 2011 that capped fees at 21 cents.