CHICAGO ( TheStreet) -- If the holiday season is make-it-or-break-it time for many retailers, it's also a major windfall for Visa (V - Get Report) and MasterCard (MA - Get Report). Every time a shopper pulls out his or her credit card, a percentage of that transaction goes straight to the large credit cards companies and the banks that issue their cards. Think of it as a gift that keeps on giving to large financial institutions.Those steadily rising fees have left many small businesses feeling like the Grinch. According to the National Retail Federation, credit- and debit-card fees have tripled over the past 10 years, to about $50 billion a year. That money comes straight out of retailers' profits, and small businesses eventually banded together to protest in increase in these so-called "swipe fees."
Swipe Fees Continue to Sting for Small Businesses
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