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Senate votes to curb credit, debit card fees

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate approved a measure on Thursday that would let the Federal Reserve regulate debit card fees and help merchants take steps to restrain fees charged by credit card networks to customers every time they use a credit or debit card.

The measure -- which pit retailers and restaurants against banks and card firms such as Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc in a lobbying fight -- was offered as an amendment to a broad Wall Street reform bill by Senator Richard Durbin.

The measure from Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, would let merchants give discounts to customers who use one type of card over another, or who pay by cash or some means other than by card. It would also allow retailers to set minimum purchase levels for using a card.

And it would let the Federal Reserve make the card networks set debit card transaction fees that are "reasonable and proportional to the actual cost incurred."

(Reporting by Kevin Drawbaugh; Editing by Leslie Adler)