New Debit Card Fees Hitting Customers

YAKIMA -- Before you swipe your debit card for a lunch or cup of coffee, you might want to consider how much of the charge is going to the card company.

Beginning Saturday, Visa and MasterCard are raising their fees for "small purchases" to the highest allowed by law.

Some things like the love of a cup of coffee in the morning will never change. The price of that cup however will because inflation is inevitable.

But, paying a higher price just for using a debit card could turn that morning cup bitter.

"I understand their position trying to get funds but we have to survive in our economy as well," said debit card user Janette Manzo.

But that's exactly what is going to happen. Right now for any purchase under $15 dollars retailers get charged about 2% of the price plus 4 cents. So for a $2 cup of coffee that equals about 7 cents. Under the new terms that cost will triple. Local business owners are sad to say they aren't surprised.

"I'm pretty much shock proof these days the way prices are going up," said Keith Taylor the owner of Java Heaven.

Right now many businesses like Java Heaven don't pass those extra debit fees onto you the customers for small purchases instead they absorb them for the price of doing business. Owners like Keith say if the cost of business keeps rising for other things as well, then you the customer will see a rise in price.

"You know as a business you can only handle so much so at some point you have to pass that on to the customer," he said.

These debit fees will be hard to avoid. In the age of plastic most people don't even carry cash.

"I actually have four bucks right now, in cash that's it and then I usually use my debit card,"
said Manzo.

She's not alone. Right now at Java Heaven they see about $300 to $400 each day in debit card transactions.

Some smaller, local banks and credit unions will not be charging the fee, yet but that too will likely change in time.

It's not just businesses that are getting hit with these higher fees on debit cards. As we told you Bank of America is the first of what will likely be a long list of banks to start charging monthly fees for debit card holders.