Legislature Discusses Debit Card Fees

WASHINGTON (AP) - House and Senate lawmakers have tentatively agreed on how to regulate fees that banks charge merchants who accept payment with debit cards.

Under the deal, the Federal Reserve would not limit fees on transactions involving debit cards issued by the federal or state governments. Governments use debit cards for programs such as unemployment or child support payments. Several state treasurers argued that restricting fees paid by merchants could force banks to increase charges for the cards to states.

The deal also allows the Federal Reserve, which would write fee regulations, to consider costs that banks incur for preventing fraudulent use of the cards.

The agreement is part of broader legislation to regulate financial institutions.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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