Coming Soon: A $50 Limit on Debit-Card Purchases?

March 10, 2011

In what could be a sign of bank card changes to come, JPMorgan Chase is considering limiting debit-card purchases to either $50 or $100, according to a report.

If you rely heavily on your checking account debit card to make purchases, you soon may have to change your habits. In what could be a sign of bank card changes to come, JPMorgan Chase is considering limiting debit-card purchases to either $50 or $100, according to someone familiar with the proposal, CNN.com reported.

The reason banks such as Chase are mulling this and other changes to consumer debit cards is the CARD Act, passed last year. The new law limited interchange fees -- the fees banks charge retailers for each debit card transaction. The average interchange fee is 44 cents, but the charges add up to about tens of billions of dollars per year for banks, according to CNN. The new law would cap that fee at 12 cents a transaction.

The threat to sharply curtail debit card use has the Federal Reserve reconsidering changes to interchange fees, according to the Associated Press. In a statement before the House Financial Services Committee last week, Fed Gov. Sarah Bloom Raskin said the Fed was uncertain about how the change in interchange fees would affect consumers. Final rules on interchange fee standards are expected to be adopted by April 21, with the new rules taking effect in July.