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Impact of Debit Card Regulation on Checking Account Fees
Richard J. Sullivan (au)
In 2010, when Congress authorized the Federal Reserve to cap the fees paid to banks for debit card transactions, some news reports predicted the banks might react by increasing checking account fees. The cap on debit card fees reduced revenue significantly for some banks, and the concern was that they might seek to offset their losses by raising more revenue from checking accounts. In fact, in recent years, many of the large banks bound by the new debit card regulations have raised their checking fees. But thousands of smaller banks that were exempted from the regulations have taken varying approaches to checking account fees, some raising and others lowering the fees. The net effect on consumers has remained an open question. This article examines broad samples of regulated and exempt banks, compares their fee structures before and after the imposition of debit card regulations, and finds that -- on net -- consumers actually had increased access to free checking after the debit card regulations went into effect in late 2011. Figures and tables. This is a print on demand report.
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