Information on Merchant Accounts,
Ecommerce and Credit Card Processing

July 1st, 2011 by Jamie Estep

Payment Industry Changes – Debit Interchange Regulation

Filed in: Industry News, Merchant Accounts |

First off, I wish everyone a great 4th of July weekend. Banks will be closed on Monday and it looks like most people are starting their weekend today anyway. Be safe this weekend and be very careful with fireworks if you live in one of the drought stricken areas like myself.

The past month has brought monumental changes to the payment processing industry.

Mobile frenzy

Mobile payments seem to be on the fast track with just about every tech related company steaming ahead at trying to be the first with a workable and widely adopted mobile payment method. Even Google has jumped in, despite Paypal’s arguments, and hopes to be a major player in mobile payments. If the Google Checkout service is any indicator of Google’s success in mobile payments, they simply aren’t going to make it. However, with their success in the mobile android operating system, and their already massive relationship with businesses, Google may have a chance at something.

Debit Interchange Regulation

The biggest news of the month, is the regulation of debit interchange. After fierce battling for more than a year, debit interchange is to be regulated to $.21 per transaction and .05% per transaction. As written, this applies to all debit card transactions, PIN or signature as well as Ecommerce/MOTO transactions. It’s not entirely clear when and how this will take effect but stay tuned over the next months.

The biggest winners in this regulation are once again the super retailers who process millions of transactions per year. Small and medium size merchants can expect savings, but it will not likely be anything as monumental as the Walmart’s and’s out there. There’s going to be a lot of misinformation flying and aggressive marketing over the next year as many processors will take advantage of the turmoil, misinformation, and instability in the merchant account industry. I would strongly suggest exercising caution in anyone making sensational claims about lowering your rates. Major industry changes offer the greatest opportunity to get scammed into a bad merchant account. Just remember that almost every processor has roughly the same hard costs, so if they are unrealistically lowering fees in one place, they have to make them up somewhere else.

Expect major checking account changes

As a result of banks losing roughly 50% of their revenue from debit cards, we should all expect drastic changes to our personal and business checking accounts over the next year. I know that all of my business and personal debit rewards have been canceled over the past 3 months. I think that debit rewards are the tip of the iceberg, and we should expect changes in debit and checking account fees and overall debit availability over the coming months. Some smaller banks have rumored that they will be dropping debit cards completely, so it will be interesting to see where this all ends up a year from now.

It’s a mute point to argue my position on the interchange regulation at this time. Retailers may be chocking this up as a victory, but don’t start celebrating yet. This regulation may seem like a small amount. Personally I think this regulation will change the way we do banking in the US, and could very well effect the entire retail economy, not necessarily in a good way. The next few years will give us a better picture of what these regulation have done to the retail industries and checking accounts.

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