Ask the Expert: 'Do I Pay Extra When I Swipe My Card?'


We got a lot of reaction to the article about how changes in debit and credit card swipe fees may affect you. Swipe fees are the charges retailers pay when they allow you to use plastic at their store. In reviewing the comments and speaking about the story on radio stations nationwide, one question kept coming up: "Wait, do I pay when I use my debit card?"Some of you jumped in to help clarify that consumers don't pay those fee ... at least not yet.

It's a useful trend to keep an eye on, and the changes may affect debit and credit card offers moving forward. We may even start to see more products offered for different prices -- one if you use cash, another if you use debit, maybe even another if you use a credit card: We'll keep an eye on the retail response and let you know.

It was also helpful to hear the perspective of small-business owners who are faced with hundreds of dollars in related monthly costs. Part of the discussion from our comment board is copied below. Thanks again for weighing in: We look forward to your continued feedback.

Sekinu2: Bit confusing as I have never had a bank that charges a fee to use my debit card for debit or credit purchases??? Is this meant the fees companies get charged by banks to process the cards?

Bbandicoot5: It's not the consumer who sees the fees, it's the retailer. I have a store. We pay hundreds of dollars in fees every month! Hopefully, this will help us out. After we pay employees, rent, processors, electric, etc. and take what we need for personal bills, there's nothing left. We are already doing all the work that we can, ourselves. We're considering working behind the counter and letting that employee go. We don't want to raise our prices, because we wouldn't be a discount shop if we did. That's why people come to us. There's only so much that we can pass on to the consumer. The rest, we have to bear. And that's getting harder and harder to do, as OUR expenses only go up and up.

Regina: Bandicoot5 has great explanation. Sorry this was a bit confusing ... You are right, consumers are not paying directly. You may start to see two different prices for things at retailers because THEY are paying.