It was revealed this week that leading US banks are considering imposing a cap on all consumer debit card transactions, with a view to limiting the swipe fees which cost retailers valuable revenue. Although the motion has yet to be confirmed, it would go further than simply assisting retailers in obtaining a higher level of profit, and would also potentially change the way in which American citizens purchased both everyday and luxury items.
While the benefits for US companies are obvious, any potential advantages for consumers are far more contentious and debateable. Firstly, it is unclear whether this restriction on how and when consumers use their debit cards is either entirely neccessary or reflective of a democratic society, where individuals should be free to spend their wealth as they desire. However, there is also a very pertinent argument that forcing consumers to make more cash purchases would lead to an enhanced fiscal responsibility within society.
Enhancing Economic Awareness
The second of these points is the most interetsing facing the contemporary consumer, especially in an age where consumer and credit card debt has soared beyond $26 billion in the US. Although this issue was not helped by the global recession, the excessive use of debit and credit cards has also been cited as a major influence, with the clear inference that consumers are more likely to spend higher volumes of their wealth through card payments.