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by Devin Henry

Washington — Small business owners, including a trio from Minnesota, took a victory lap through the Hart and Dirksen Senate office buildings today, thanking senators who voting against legislation Wednesday that would have sidelined reform measures meant to lessen the blow of debt card swipe fees.

The financial reform law passed last summer included a provision that sets limits on debt card swipe fees, the money merchants pay banks when they process a debt card transaction. The fees amount averages about $0.44 per transaction, which equates to about $20 billion a year, Retail Industry Leaders Association President Sandy Kennedy said. The reform bill cut that amount by about 73 percent.

Banks and credit unions have opposed swipe-fee reform, saying it will be painful to their operations and cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in lost profits. Such a dramatic loss will lead to increased bank fees to compensate, they say.

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