Ask the Expert: 'Do I Pay Extra When I Swipe My Card?'

We got a lot of reaction to the article about how changes in debit and credit card swipe fees may affect you. Swipe fees are the charges retailers pay when they allow you to use plastic at their store. In reviewing the comments and speaking about the story on radio stations nationwide, one question kept coming up: "Wait, do I pay when I use my debit card?" Some of you jumped in to help clarify that consumers don't pay those fee ... at least not yet.

It's a useful trend to keep an eye on, and the changes may affect debit and credit card offers moving forward. We may even start to see more products offered for different prices -- one if you use cash, another if you use debit, maybe even another if you use a credit card: We'll keep an eye on the retail response and let you know.

It was also helpful to hear the perspective of small-business owners who are faced with hundreds of dollars in related monthly costs. Part of the discussion from our comment board is copied below. Thanks again for weighing in: We look forward to your continued feedback.




Sekinu2: Bit confusing as I have never had a bank that charges a fee to use my debit card for debit or credit purchases??? Is this meant the fees companies get charged by banks to process the cards?

Bbandicoot5: It's not the consumer who sees the fees, it's the retailer. I have a store. We pay hundreds of dollars in fees every month! Hopefully, this will help us out. After we pay employees, rent, processors, electric, etc. and take what we need for personal bills, there's nothing left. We are already doing all the work that we can, ourselves. We're considering working behind the counter and letting that employee go. We don't want to raise our prices, because we wouldn't be a discount shop if we did. That's why people come to us. There's only so much that we can pass on to the consumer. The rest, we have to bear. And that's getting harder and harder to do, as OUR expenses only go up and up.

Regina: Bandicoot5 has great explanation. Sorry this was a bit confusing ... You are right, consumers are not paying directly. You may start to see two different prices for things at retailers because THEY are paying.

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25 Comments

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Robert

Cash only since 1983, life doesn't have to suck.

September 27 2011 at 12:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Felix Branson

The new limit on debit card interchange fee is primarily a huge win for merchants. Consumers, on the other hand, will end up being net losers, as card issuers will inevitably begin making up for their interchange-related losses by generating additional revenues by charging higher fees elsewhere. Well, they are already doing it. http://blog.unibulmerchantservices.com/debit-card-fee-limit-lifted-to-24-cents-consumers-will-still-pay-for-it

July 15 2011 at 7:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dmadden322

If yiur in business would you rarher take a debt card or a bad check, eniygh saud

July 13 2011 at 8:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ralph EW

goi70, you are paying the cash price (typically this is offered only at gas stations) nothing exceptional about this practice. Pricing for PIN based debit card use varies, cash discount and in some instances merchants impose a useage fee for PIN based debit cards, unless the merchant was grandfathered in, this practice is in violation of Visa/Mastercards rules. No surcharges are allow on credit cards under the of Visa & Mastercard.

July 13 2011 at 6:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
goi70

At some gas stations there are signs advising customers if they pay cash they will get a discount. So, these stations are already passing the card's fees to the customer

July 13 2011 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ralph EW

REW- In Business
Credit and Debit card fees are just a cost of doing business just as wages, utilites, inventory, etc and are or should be factored into any business model. Revenue (sales) - expenses = net profit. When we pay for goods and services our money covers all business expenses including debit and credit fees, it's no different than paying with cash, our cash covers, wages, utilities, inventory etc. I don't begrudge retailers trying to reduce the credit/debit cards fees or any other expenses, but those savings will go to their bottom line not back to the consumers and for Wal Mart/Target the savings in bank card fees could be in hundred's of millions of dollars in fees annually. Retailers are not victims here this ONLY about their profit margins, no more no less.

July 13 2011 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mbanks949

I OWN A GIFT AND FASHION SHOP. THE FEES THAT WE PAY FOR CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS ARE REALLY ADDING UP. WE TAKE THE LOSS. SOME STORES ARE ALREADY HAVING TWO DIFFERENT PRICES FOR CASH AND FOR CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS. I REALLY DON'T WANT TO DO THIS BUT I MAY HAVE TO IN ORDER TO HELP MY BUSINESS SURVIVE .

July 13 2011 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
smapplebee

A collision shop refused to accept my credit card recently. They would only accept cash. They led me to the bank, where I withdrew the money, and led me back to the shop. Carrying cash is not safe. I would rather pay extra to swipe a card than carry cash and risk losing it all.

July 13 2011 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mario Garcia

Whatever... there are tons of store that charge the customer their swipe fee or they have a minimum purchase amount before you can use your card - which is against the terms of most credit card companies. Absolute BS!!! These store make deals with the credit card companies in order to accept plastic then they blatantly and unethically ROB the customer. Who's going to argue over $.35 when you're in a hurry?

July 13 2011 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sandra

Where I live some of the retailers and conveinence stores are charging the costomer and extra dollar if the purchase is under $20.00. I have no problem with this.

July 13 2011 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sandra's comment
Mario Garcia

So you have no problem being charged a fee that's between 5 (depending if you spend between $1 - $20) of your total charge?

July 13 2011 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply