Everyone Tells Debit-Fee Cap Judge: Please Leave It Alone For Now!

At least there's one thing the warring parties in the debit-fee cap lawsuit agree about. Last Thursday (Aug. 29), lawyers for both the Federal Reserve and retailer groups asked U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to keep the Fed's 21-cent cap in place while the Fed appeals Leon's July 31 ruling that declared the cap was too high. The Fed had already taken the step of asking the appeals court to put a stay on Judge Leon's order, just in case he said no.

And if that wasn't enough, the judge also allowed a coalition of financial institutions and their trade groups—who weren't parties to the lawsuit—to weigh in on the question. They want the current fee cap to stay in place for now too. At the point where retailers, banks and the Federal Reserve all agree on something involving payment cards, the judge should probably take the hint. After all, the only ones left in the payment-card food chain—besides consumers, and they don't count, right?—are processors and card brands. Under the circumstances, we'd just as soon do without their opinions.

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