U.S. appeals court upholds cap on 'swipe' fees

WASHINGTON - A U.S. appeals court has handed a defeat to a coalition of retail groups that challenged as too high the Federal Reserve's cap on how much banks can charge businesses for handling debit card transactions.

The ruling issued Friday by the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia overturned a lower court's decision in July that favored the merchants and was a setback for banks.

In the July ruling, a federal judge struck down the Fed's cap on so-called "swipe fees", saying the Fed didn't have the authority to set the limit the way it did in 2011, improperly including data that made the cap too high.

The fee cap averages 24 cents per transaction. Before the cap, fees averaged 44 cents per swipe.

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