Consumer Payment Card News

Debit Card Changes

Kiss debit card incentives goodbye and start remembering your PINs! In a stunning, last minute deal, VISA and MasterCard agreed to settle with retailers a lawsuit over their debit card practices. Under terms of the settlement, VISA and MasterCard are cutting the fees charged for each non-PIN debit card transaction by at least one third and will give merchants the right to choose not to accept US-issued VISA and MasterCard debit cards. On top of this, VISA agreed to shell out about $2 billion and MasterCard about $1 billion, over ten years, to compensate retailers for fees already paid. As a result, the profit margin for non-PIN or signature-only debit card transactions will decline significantly for banks. This means the end of reward programs for debit cards as well as sweepstakes to encourage consumers to skip the PIN at the cash register. Consumers may also face new or higher fees for making a debit card purchase without a PIN, similar to fees paid for ATM access. Furthermore, giant retailers like Wal-Mart may stop accepting VISA and MasterCard debit cards unless you use a PIN. The new lower debit card rates for merchants will go into effect August 1st.

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