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In the very recent past, some merchants have been hesitant to accept debit and credit cards. Particularly for those retailers working with small-ticket items, the costs for accepting cards simply outweighed the benefits.

The Durbin Amendment has changed that.

With a newly minted debit interchange cap, micro-merchants and others will take a second look at cards – at least at debit cards. Now that the cost per debit swipe is a flat 21 cents in most cases (versus what could have been as high as $1.50), the cost-benefit analysis is likely to yield near opposite results.

Study after study has shown that today's consumers prefer debit. Merchants stand to gain tremendously in terms of new clientele. More importantly, however, they will be in a much better fraud-loss position, as debit shifts the fraud liability away from merchants all together.

We think the interchange cap will be especially important for sole proprietors – small business owners running farmers' market or craft fair booths. Other organizations, such as schools and other non-profits that have never before considered accepting debit cards, will re-evaluate and find that today's benefits far outweigh the costs.

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Dan Kramer
Dan has an extensive background in merchant portfolio management and electronic funds transfer sales and marketing. He joined SHAZAM in 1999 and currently serves as senior vice president of marketing and merchant services.
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