below, release from Durbin...
DURBIN STATEMENT ON HIS DEBIT CARD SWIPE FEE AMENDMENT
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) issued the following statement after the Senate approved his amendment to help reduce the swipe fees that small businesses pay on every credit and debit card sale by a bipartisan vote of 64-33:
"Wall Street reform is really about two things: holding the big banks accountable for how they operate and empowering consumers to make good financial choices. Passage of this amendment is a win for the public on both fronts.
Passage of this measure gives small businesses and their customers a real chance in the fight against the outrageously high "swipe fees" charged by Visa and MasterCard. It will prevent the giant credit card companies from using anti-competitive practices, allow merchants to offer discounts to their customers and restore common sense and fairness to this broken system.
By requiring debit card fees to be reasonable, and by cleaning up Visa's and MasterCard's worst abuses, small businesses and their customers will be able to keep more of their own money. Making sure small businesses can grow and prosper is vital to putting our country back on solid economic footing."
Swipe fees are supposedly charged by Visa and MasterCard in order to cover the cost of processing a credit or debit card transaction. However, Visa and MasterCard continue to raise swipe fees even though processing costs have decreased. High swipe fees are yet another way that banks and credit card companies hurt small businesses by charging fees that cut into already tight profit margins.
An estimated $48 billion in swipe fees were charged by credit and debit card networks in 2008 - this money came out of the bottom line of small businesses and merchants across America, and 80 percent of this money went to just ten large banks.