Debit Card Interchange Fees and Routing
The Board is requesting public comment on proposed new Regulation II, Debit Card Interchange Fees and Routing, which: establishes standards for determining whether an interchange fee received or charged by an issuer with respect to an electronic debit transaction is reasonable and proportional to the cost incurred by the issuer with respect to the transaction; and prohibits issuers and networks from restricting the number of networks over which an electronic debit transaction may be processed and from inhibiting the ability of a merchant to direct the routing of an electronic debit transaction to any network that may process such transactions. With respect to the interchange fee standards, the Board is requesting comment on two alternatives that would apply to covered issuers: an issuer-specific standard with a safe harbor and a cap; or a cap applicable to all such issuers. The proposed rule would additionally prohibit circumvention or evasion of the interchange fee limitations (under both alternatives) by preventing the issuer from receiving net compensation from the network (excluding interchange fees passed through the network). The Board also is requesting comment on possible frameworks for an adjustment to interchange fees for fraud-prevention costs. With respect to the debit-card routing rules, the Board is requesting comment on two alternative rules prohibiting network exclusivity: one alternative would require at least two unaffiliated networks per debit card, and the other would require at least two unaffiliated networks for each type of transaction authorization method. Under both alternatives, the issuers and networks would be prohibited from inhibiting a merchant's ability to direct the routing of an electronic debit transaction over any network that may process such transactions.