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Senate passes fee restrictions on debit cards

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., at a news conference where he spoke about his swipe fee amendment to the Financial Regulation Bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 13, 2010. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., at a news conference where he spoke about his swipe fee amendment to the Financial Regulation Bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
May 13, 2010

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WASHINGTON—The Senate has voted to force big banks to reduce fees for debit card transactions and permit merchants to offer customer discounts if they use cash, checks or debit cards for purchases.

The Senate voted 64-33 to include the fee requirement in a package of new financial rules the Senate is considering to ward off a repeat of the financial crisis.

The vote was a major defeat for banks, which lobbied heavily to defeat it. But the measure obtained heavy bipartisan support and surpassed a 60-vote threshold for passage.

The measure from Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., would force credit card companies to charge businesses less for debit card transactions than credit card payments.