Quick answer, YES!
Look at Visa’s debit-interchange rate sheet here. Check out the chart at the top of page 2, row 10. You’ll see the interchange charged to your corner gas station if you use your Visa Check Card to fill up on a tank of gasoline. That rate is .75% of the transaction + 17 cents, capped at a total of 95 cents.
At $3.09 gallon, your local merchant pays the bank that issued your debit card 19 cents for that gallon. If you fill up with 15 gallons, totaling $46.35, that transaction costs the merchant 52 cents. This drives merchants crazy because the real costs to the issuing bank of the two transactions are identical. Why does your bank charge the merchant more for the larger transaction? Because it can, at least that can until this summer when debit swipe reforms go into effect.
The Federal Reserve has proposed capping debit swipe fees at 12 cents, the number that the agency found to be “reasonable and proportionate” to the costs associated with processing such transactions. That means that when the rule goes into effect during this summer’s travel season, a full tank of gas purchased with your debit card will cost your corner convenience store less.
Because of the intense competition in the gasoline market, that savings will pass through to you. Gasoline is a commodity, and your corner convenience store wants nothing more than to attract as many customers as it can. How does it do that? By offering prices lower than its competitors.
Swipe fee reform will be a win for everyone, consumers, merchants and even banks, who will continue to make plenty of money from these transactions.