Congress shifts, but doesn't eliminate, fees

Consumers who enjoy the free use of debit cards from their banks may soon have to pay for that service - and they have Congress to "thank" for that.

The Dodd-Frank Act did a favor to merchants by slashing in half the amount that banks are permitted to charge merchants for electronic transactions.

That was wrong in principle because price-fixing is not an appropriate or constitutional function of the federal government.

But it was also wrong from a practical, financial point of view. Why? Because banks are having to find ways to make up the revenue that they will lose from being forced to reduce charges for electronic transactions. One way they are trying to make up the shortfall is by charging monthly fees when consumers use debit cards.

Some banks in our area are looking at fees of $3 to $6.

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