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Visa hits back with ads in debit card fee debate

When you swipe your credit card at Publix, Home Depot or Walmart, state law says the retailer can't charge you a transaction fee. Instead, the retailer has to pay it to the credit card company.

The decades-old state law, however, was passed before the rise of debit cards, which means a retailer could charge you a transaction fee if you use your debit card.

But most retailers don't charge the fee, so the Florida Retail Federation initially said it supported Democratic Reps. Mary Brandenburg and Ari Porth's House bill 621, which ensures that debit card users aren't hit with fees.

When the big-box stores realized what happened, they began to lobby against the bill, which passed the House unanimously on Friday. It's a spillover Washington battle over transaction fees that just hit Tallahassee.

Now, Visa is making the Florida Retail Federation pay. It took out full-page ads this week in the St. Petersburg Times, the Tampa Tribune and the Tallahassee Democrat urging the state Senate to close the loophole and protect customers from a check-out fee.

The senior group 60 Plus is also phone-banking the issue to make sure it reaches a fever pitch to pass the Senate.

Visa hits back with ads in debit card fee debate 04/27/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 12:09am]

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