The issue of revenue that banks and credit unions make fromtransactions on their debit cards moved from the obscure corners ofthe financial services industry into the national spotlight lastweek as the Federal Reserve's debit interchange cap came intoeffect.

The cap, which reduced debit card interchange for large cardissuers from an average of 44 cents per transaction to an averageof 24 cents, became operational Oct. 1.

At first the cap's advent seemed destined to be a side issuesuitable to the financial services industry trade press. But thedecision by Bank of America to start charging cardholders a$5per month fee for the use of their debit cards catapulted itout of the wonky laps of economists and lawyers and onto thenational stage.

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