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Fed appeals ruling on its debit-card fee cap

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve is appealing a recent court ruling that struck down its cap on how much banks can charge businesses for processing debit card transactions.

The Fed filed a notice Wednesday that it is seeking in a federal appeals court to overturn US District Judge Richard Leon’s ruling last month. Leon said at the time that the Federal Reserve didn’t have the authority to set the limit the way it did in 2011, and improperly included data that made the cap — an average 24 cents per transaction — too high.

Congress mandated a ceiling on debit-card swipe fees as part of the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul. Leon’s ruling was a victory for a coalition of retail groups, which sued the Fed over its cap. The Fed had initially proposed a 12-cent cap, and the retailers argued that the Fed buckled under pressure from bank lobbyists when it set the cap at double that level.

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