Debit Interchange Fee Battle Heats Up Ahead of Fed Ruling

debit card - debit fee
debit card - debit fee

The Federal Reserve is charged with issuing its decision next month on the fees that financial institutions charge stores every time a customer pays with a debit card. These interchange fees, as they're called, were for years a hidden cost borne by merchants who wanted to allow customers to use their debit cards.

A lawsuit settlement last year made consumers more aware of the complicated transactions -- $20.5 billion annually -- behind each swipe. The Fed's preliminary take on the issue would cap the fees at 12 cents per transaction, a fraction of the average 44 cents merchants are now charged per swipe.