WASHINGTON ? The monthly service fees banks charge consumers are unrelated to debit card swipe fees, according to an analysis of data released by Moneyrates.com and Bankrate.com.
The Merchants Payment Coalition (MPC) conducted the analysis, noting that the findings run counter to claims by banks and card companies, which maintain that the Durbin Amendment has forced them to increase the fees that they charge consumers for services.
?Swipe fees have tripled over the last decade, but that certainly hasn?t resulted in consumer checking fees getting cut by a similar amount,? said Tom Wenning, executive vice president and general counsel of the National Grocers Association, an MPC member.
Indeed, according to Bankrate.com data, both swipe fees and checking account fees �increased for the past six years, from 2005 to 2011. During that time, checking fees increased from a monthly average of $11 to $14 per account, while revenue from swipe fees increased from roughly $30 billion to $60 billion.
Meanwhile, a Moneyrates.com survey showed that big banks did not raise checking fees as much as the small banks that were exempted from debit reform, Wenning said.
According to MPC, the Bankrate.com and Moneyrate.com surveys demonstrate that checking fees are not affected by swipe fees: ?Checking fees have their own competitive market dynamics, while swipe fees are centrally price-fixed by credit card companies,? the coalition wrote.
Survey data from Moneyrates.com reveal the following:
- Small banks, which were exempt from reform and didn?t have swipe fee revenue reduced, raised consumer fees by 5.52% in the first half of 2012 ? almost a full percentage point more than large banks whose swipe fees were reduced.
- Large bank checking fees are almost unchanged post-reform.
- More large and medium size banks abolished monthly service fees after debit reform.