The Durbin Amendment Turns Three

Talk Radio News Service | May 17, 2013

The amendment prevented banks from charging more than 24 cents per debit card transaction. Before Durbin, banks were charging roughly 44 cents per debit card transaction. In the aftermath of the market crash, congressional leaders thought that this price cap would help struggling consumers.

Consequently, champions of the Durbin Amendment declared a victory for the American people. However, AFP opposed the Durbin Amendment. The victory for consumers was falsely proclaimed. Durbin’s amendment was actually a boon to retail companies who wanted the government to force debit card transaction costs downward. This did not change the real price of debit card transactions—that remained at 44 cents. Instead, it artificially lowered the price, leaving banks with a loss of 20 cents per transaction.

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