The U.S. Federal Reserve’s rules for debit-card swipe fees are set to stay the same while the Fed appeals U.S. District Judge Richard Leon’s July 31 ruling that the Fed didn’t have the authority to set a 21-cent cap on debit-card transactions.
Both the Fed and retailers had asked the federal judge in Washington to keep the current rules in place pending the appeal.
“Upon consideration of those pleadings, oral arguments and the entire record, I conclude that the stay should remain in place while our Circuit Court reviews my decision,” U.S. District Judge Richard Leon wrote in the ruling entered Sept. 20.
Merchants feared an “unregulated ‘free for all’” that could burden them with interest fees that exceeded the Fed’s current standard if the regulations were put on hold.
The Fed wishes to reverse Leon’s ruling that it wrongly set the cap on debit-card transaction fees at about 21 cents for each transaction, and failed to foster competition among payment networks.
Leon’s decision, unless overturned on appeal, will force regulators to revisit rules that bankers said would cost them 45% of their swipe-fee revenue, Bloomberg reported.