The Federal Trade Commission issued a report to Congress explaining steps the agency has taken in connection with new rules on debit card transactions that were put in place last year by the Federal Reserve Board as required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  

The FTC shares authority to investigate and enforce the new Dodd-Frank requirements with other financial regulators. The enforcement work generally focuses on the conduct of payment card networks and certain other non-bank entities. Regulations related to payment card network exclusivity and routing became fully effective in April 2012.

The FTC sought to help make businesses aware of new options for processing electronic payments that might lower their costs. The FTC issued a publication, translated into Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese, explaining the new rules and inviting merchants and others with complaints to contact the FTC at paymentcard@ftc.gov.

Over the past year, FTC staff has met with merchants and other stakeholders to discuss their concerns, and consulted with attorneys and economists at the Federal Reserve Board regarding the scope of the new regulations.

The FTC also has begun an initial investigation to determine whether certain payment card networks may be violating Section 1075 of the Dodd-Frank Act or Regulation II, the Federal Reserve rule implementing that section.

The FTC has taken actions under the FTC Act and other regulations against payment processors that have engaged in unfair, deceptive or otherwise illegal conduct. The FTC has taught consumers to help them be alert for potential problems and make better-informed decisions when using payment cards.   

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the FTC take law enforcement action.   

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