Readers respond to debit card swipe fees

Are banks and credit card companies charging too much for debit transactions? Here's what we heard:

"The Washington lawmakers should allow retailers to add the swipe fee to their sale total. This would put consumer pressure on the banks to compete for which card the consumer will use and thereby create competition. As it is, the retailer is required to absorb the fee. And the retailer, of course, is going to accept whatever card the customer wants to use. There is no competitive pressure here on the banks because the decision is made by a consumer who has no skin in the game.

“There are simple solutions to most problems. And since the consumer is going to cover the cost anyway, it is best to have the banks fighting for the consumer's preference.

“No bureaucracies, no government pricing forced on anyone. It's amazing how well the free market can work.”
— Charles Hildreth
The Emery-Waterhouse Co.
Portland, Maine

“Why should a swipe fee even exist for a debit card?  If a retailer is paid with a manual check, there is no fee to the consumer or the retailer when depositing the check in the retailer's bank, or when the check is presented to the issuing bank for payment.  Banks have much lower handling costs on an electronic transaction than on handling a manual check, which has no fees. And a debit card is simply an electronic check.”
— Jeff Barnes

“Card companies are charging too much for swipe fees. They are also charging too much for credit through their card programs, including outrageous amounts if you happen to be late with a payment. The card industry deserves all the heat they get -- and more.”
— Al Drinkwater
Lowell, Ark.

“I recall the onset of ATM/debit cards, and all the hoopla of  ‘convenience’ for the customer. I knew then, and in the future, the banking industry will do anything to the public for profit. This country needs to address excessive fees and such, either by shaming the industry (which is impossible), but more likely by installing strict regulation.”
— Name withheld

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