New regulations cap ‘swipe fees’

Published 12:22 pm Thursday, September 1, 2011

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

Starting Oct. 1, new regulations will cap the amount of money banks can charge merchants for electronic purchases.

To compensate for the changes of the Durbin Amendment to the federal Dodd-Frank Act, many banks are implementing additional fees for debit card users.

Starting in October, Regions Bank will charge some checking account customers up to $4 a month for debit card use.

“Regulations have changed and, as a result, we and other banks are adjusting
how we cover the costs of providing debit cards,” said Mel Campbell, the media relations manager for Regions Financial Corporation. “For some customers that will mean a monthly fee for a debit card beginning in October.”

Campbell added that “one of the benefits of having a complete relationship with us is that we will continue to offer ways for customers to avoid the fee.”

Customers like the convenience of using debit cards for payments, Campbell noted, adding, “we encourage our customers to talk with their banker about which Regions account best fits their needs.”

Wells Fargo will charge debit card users in five states a $3 per month fee starting in October. The pilot program will be tested in Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Georgia and Washington, according to Wells Fargo.

The Durbin Amendment puts a cap of about 21 cents on “swipe fees,” which in the past have averaged about 44 cents nationwide.

Regardless of what bank a customer uses, Campbell said customers should talk to their bank about the various options available.