The Senate decided yesterday to avoid delaying the 80 percent cut in debit card swipe fees, which is a fee that banks charge retailers for every purchase made with a debit card.

These swipe fees, banks say, are necessary in order to offer debit card services. The fees are also meant to cover losses from fraud.

Swipe fees are only imposed on retailers when a consumer uses the card with a four-digit PIN. There are no swipe fees when debit cards are used like a credit card.

An 80 percent cut in swipe fees could provide some relief to consumers. With retailers facing lower fees imposed by banks, consumer dollars will be worth more.

But banks have warned that they will look to increase revenue to make up for a cut in swipe fees, suggesting that perks such as free checking could be eliminated.

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