The state of Texas has passed a law that prohibits merchants from imposing surcharges when customers use their debit cards. The Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT), which spearheaded the law, explained in a document on its Web site that financial ties between "big-box stores" and the largest banks could "steer" customers toward those particular banks by making it more expensive for customers of smaller community banks to use their debit cards. IBAT Executive Vice President Stephen Scurlock says he does not know of any retailers that are currently levying a surcharge on debit-card purchases, but he says his group believes it is possible. Texas is the second in the nation to prohibit surcharges on debit-card transactions. Maine enacted a law two years ago that abolishes the fees not only on debit-card purchases but credit card transactions as well.
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