Fiona Ma for State Assembly

Assembly Sends SB 933 Banning Debit-Card Fees to Governor

SACRAMENTO – The State Assemblyapproved and sent to Gov. Schwarzenegger SB 933, legislation authored by Sen. Jenny Oropeza to ban retailers from imposing surcharges on those who use debit cards. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D- San Francisco), a proponent of the measure, presented the bill on the Assembly Floor. The bill passed with a bipartisan vote of 45 to 24.

"People are sick and tired of getting nickeled and dimed with fees for using debit cards," said Assemblywoman Ma. "When you go to the gas station and you see a price, that´s the price you expect to pay and that is the price all Californians will pay when SB 933 is signed."

Senate Bill 933 would close a loophole in current law by prohibiting a retailer from imposing a surcharge on consumers who elect to use their debit card or prepaid cards when making a purchase. A 1985 statue prohibits a retailer from charging a surcharge on a consumer who elects to use their credit card when making a purchase. Had debit or prepaid cards been in existence when the law passed, those forms of payment would have been included in the statute.

Support for Oropeza´s SB 933 is widespread, including in the Senate, where it also received bipartisan support, 22-9, on June 3. Supporters also include numerous consumer groups, chambers of commerce, the American Association of Retired Persons and the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle. Opinion pieces supporting the measure have run in the San Jose Mercury News, the Orange-County Register and more than a dozen other newspapers.

The governor has about two weeks to sign SB 933, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature. He has not taken a public position on the bill.