That's both interesting and unexpected, as the checkcard purports to serve substantially as a paperless check.
Are merchants charged processing fees for processing paper checks? I don't think so.
The benefit to the bank, where the account is tied to the checkcard, is that they have 1 less check to process. I always figured that processing payments - via a cash account, electronically - would be less burdensome and therefore less expensive to the bank.
I also had it in mind that Visa/MC is basically "a bank thing". In other words, an entity in service of the banking (moving money around) industry that is either owned or controlled by interests tied to or overlapping with bank ownership.
Lastly, since debit cards are tied to actual funds (not credit) I thought any charge would naturally be less since the risk of non-satisfaction of the debt are eliminated. If you don't have funds in an account to cover the debit the transaction fails.
Fascinating. If the charge is exactly the same to the merchant as a actual check then this is a bit of a screw job. I guess it's time to put away the checkcard if that's the case.
[edited by: Webwork at 2:40 pm (utc) on Nov. 27, 2006]