Tag Archives: debit cards

Right on Cue

In this morning’s CEI Podcast, my colleague John Berlau predicted that the new price cap on debit card swipe fees would lead to the end of free debit cards and free checking. He pointed out that while this is an unintended consequence, it is also entirely foreseeable.

It didn’t take long for that prediction to come true. Bank of America just announced that it will start charging its debit card users $5 per month. They are not the only ones:

JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are testing $3 fees for debit cards in select areas, and Citibank recently announced it is raising its fees for checking accounts. Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Thomas McCrohan said last week that Visa and MasterCard, the top two debit card companies, may increase drastically increase (sic) fees on small purchases to offset the losses.

Thanks, Congress.

CEI Podcast for September 29, 2011: The End of Free Debit Cards

Have a listen here.

Every time you use your debit card, the merchant has to pay a fee to the company that issued your card, usually about 1 percent of the purchase price. On October 1, that price will be capped by law to 21 cents. John Berlau, Director of CEI’s Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs, explains the unintended consequences that will hurt consumers, merchants, and banks alike. John has written on interchange fees for The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, The American Spectator, and other outlets.