Home Depot Cuts Prices After Debit Card Swipe Fee Limit Takes Effect

06/13/2012 11:28 am ET | Updated Jun 14, 2012
  • Bonnie Kavoussi Master's student in economics, the University of Michigan

At one store, financial regulation is helping customers in a demonstrable way.

Home Depot has lowered the prices of more than 3,000 products after regulators started enforcing a cap on debit card swipe fees in October, American Banker reports. Home Depot's decision lends credence to the argument that retailers are likely to pass on the savings from the Durbin Amendent on to consumers.

"The money saved [by] Durbin goes into the pool of savings, lowers our overall operating costs, and allows us to reinvest in the business to lower prices," Dwaine Kimmet, Home Depot's treasurer and vice president of credit, said in an interview with American Banker. "We have absolutely lowered prices...[but] what I can't do is draw that direct correlation to Durbin."

Home Depot sells about 40,000 items in its stores, according to its website, so the 3,000 products that now have lower prices constitute 7.5 percent of Home Depot's products.

Clarification: This article has been updated to include Kimmet's full quote that was published in American Banker and the number of items that Home Depot sells in its stores.

The Durbin Amendment, which went into effect on October 1, cuts the maximum debit card swipe fee charged to retailers in half. Before the bill, retailers were paying an average of 44 cents for every debit card transaction. Now, the Federal Reserve is enforcing a limit of 21 cents per transaction and 0.05 percent of the transaction, as well as an extra penny for card issuers with fraud-prevention standards, according to Fox Business.

The banking industry has been charging new fees to try to make up for their lost revenue from the Durbin Amendment. Banks argue that the Durbin Amendment forces them to have no choice but to charge customers more fees, while retailers say that higher debit card swipe fees in the past forced them to raise prices above their true value.

Indeed, debit card swipe fees have made selling some products at a reasonable price just unprofitable for some retailers.

The next frontier appears to be credit card swipe fees. Credit card swipe fees have been adding about 7 cents per gallon to gas prices, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.

Check out some other common bank fees and policies below:

13 Common Bank Fees And Policies

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