Debit card reform spells multi-billion savings for US consumers, recent study shows

A debit card swipe fee reform passed by US Congress in 2010 has saved the American consumer $5.8bn in lower costs for goods and services, reveals a report by the Merchants Payments Coalition.

A debit card swipe fee reform passed by US Congress in 2010 has saved the American consumer $5.8bn in lower costs for goods and services, reveals a report by the Merchants Payments Coalition.

The reforms, required under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Act, came into effect in October 2011, halving the average debit swipe fee on cards from covered banks.

The resulting savings have meant not only significantly lower costs for consumers, but also reduced expenses for merchant businesses by $2.6bn in 2012 alone.

Conducted by Sonecon LLC, the study further revealed that the resulting savings supported the creation of 37,501 new jobs in the same year.

However it also found that wider benefits could have been achieved by cutting the swipe fee further, by 75% down to $0.12, a figure originally proposed by the US Federal Reserve Board and totalling half of the current debit swipe fee.

The report estimated that had the value been cut by a further 25%, it would have yielded an additional 18,000 jobs, as well as an additional $2.79bn and $1.2bn in consumer and merchant savings respectively.

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