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What: Shares of credit card giants Visa
So what: As part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, regulators are looking into placing a cap of $0.12 on debit card interchange fees. The interchange fees are the fees that banks (the card issuers) charge the acquirers (the folks that connect merchants to the network) when a transaction is processed. Visa and MasterCard don't actually get any of the interchange fees, so it's the major card issuers like Bank of America
Now what: It's always an adventure when Uncle Sam gets involved. Some banks have released estimates on what this could cost them. Bank of America, for instance, said it could run between $1.8 billion and $2.3 billion in annual revenue. The cost to Visa and MasterCard is far less clear, and, if banks make up for the lost interchange fees by boosting fees elsewhere, the impact could be fairly minimal. But the broader risk here is that once the government gets involved it will dig in further and cause larger disruptions in the card markets.
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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or on his RSS feed. The Fool's disclosure policy assures you no Wookiees were harmed in the making of this article.