A federal appeals court has agreed with a Federal Reserve rule that placed a 21-cent cap on swipe fees that banks charge retail stores for each debit card transaction.  After initially proposing to limit fees to 12 cents, the central bank issued a final rule in 2011 that capped fees at 21 cents. Soon after, the National Retail Federation along with other retail groups, filed a lawsuit against the Federal Reserve, saying that the fees should be lower. In 2013, Judge Richard Leon ruled in NRF’s favor and ordered the Fed to recalculate the cap at a lower level, but the Fed appealed. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington overturned Leon’s ruling. Although the ruling is a win for the Federal Reserve and the banks, nothing is expected to change for consumers.

Retailers are disappointed in Swipe Fee Ruling.  The National Retail Federation expressed disappointment in the court’s decision to keep the Federal Reserve’s cap on debit card swipe fees at 21 cents rather than reducing it to a lower level. The NRF believes the current cap is far higher than intended by Congress.

Under the Durbin Amendment provisions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection and Wall Street Reform Act, the Federal Reserve was required to adopt regulations that would result in debit card swipe fees that were “reasonable” and “proportional” to the actual cost of processing a transaction. The Fed calculated the actual average cost at 4 cents per transaction and initially proposed a cap no higher than 12 cents, but eventually settled on 21 cents after heavy lobbying from the financial services industry.  NRF claims the cap cutting swipe fees in half has saved many retailers and consumers billions of dollars but the fees, especially for small ticket transactions, are still far too high. They are reviewing the decision and will determine whether to appeal.  Prior to the financial crises in the U.S. the average fee per transaction averaged about 45 cents.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a lower court ruling that sided with retailers saying the Federal Reserve should lower fees even more.

Although it was not clear that consumers got any of the savings, one industry-sponsored survey found that 67% of retailers kept prices the same or raised them instead of passing on savings to customers.  A 2013 report by the Merchants Payments Coalition showed that swipe fee caps saved consumers $5.8 billion in 2012 through lower costs for goods and services.

Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo banks took big hits to revenue after trying to charge new debit card fees, but public outrage caused them to reverse course.  The ruling also impacts Visa and Mastercard, which collect swipe fees for the banks and keep a portion for the use of their payment networks. Following the announcement of the Court’s decision shares of Visa rose 4% in trading but MasterCard was down 9%.

Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.  NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries.

Sources: National Retail Federation; CNN Money



Help End Polio Now

October 10, 2013

Sign up your business, or refer a client to Big Sky Commerce who activates in October, and help END POLIO Now!

For each new and referred account to Big Sky Commerce in October, Big Sky Commerce will send $100 to Missoula Rotary’s END POLIO NOW campaign. Help us support END POLIO NOW ( by referring your friends in the business community to Big Sky Commerce. For as little as 60 cents, a child can be vaccinated and protected for life against polio. The year 2012 ended with the lowest number of reported polio cases and that’s in part by donations from people like you. Help establish a polio-free world! You can help END POLIO NOW by referring a friend or colleague, from anywhere in the U.S.A., to Big Sky Commerce from October 1st – 31st and mention “END POLIO NOW”. Upon account activation, Big Sky Commerce will donate $100 in each of your names to the END POLIO NOW campaign. For more information, contact Big Sky Commerce at 406.327.0611 or visit and

About Big Sky Commerce

Started in 2003, Big Sky Commerce is headquartered in Missoula, Montana and serves as a registered Independent Sales Organization for Visa, Mastercard, and other major card brands. Representing the world’s largest and most secure payment processing networks, Big Sky Commerce offers credit and debit card processing, merchant accounts, payment gateways, check conversion and guarantee, terminal hardware and point-of-sale payment applications. Big Sky Commerce works with most industry types and is committed to providing excellent customer service, competitive fees, and PCI-compliant payment processing solutions. For more information, please visit or call 406.327.0611.

Ten years in business, our first blog and our redesigned website!

For ten years now, Big Sky Commerce has been serving the payment processing needs of clients in almost every industry.  We are proud to be serving clients all over the country and in other parts of the globe.  With many other options available in our industry, we are humbled by what we often hear from our clients: that they appreciate what we do for them, that we’re available and interested in solving their issues, and they’re as committed to us as we are to them.  Our tremendous team of account managers and support staff, in our relaxed yet driven workplace culture, continue to work every day to solve problems for our clients while offering the very best in payment processing solutions.  Continue reading “Ten years in business, our first blog and our redesigned website!”