December 03, 2009
Who's in your wallet?
Posted by Usha Rodrigues

I pride myself on paying off the credit card at the end of every month. 

OK, OK, fine, I slipped on 2 separate occasions.  But come on, it was grad school--like I had any money!  Despite my (almost) unimpeachable fiscal virtue, credit card companies still make money on me, by means of "interchange fees."  That is, the merchant that accepts my credit card has to give a few crumbs, generally 1-4% of the charged amount, to the bank that issued the card.  Merchants grumble about having to pay the banks a cut, and some (like my local wine stores) give discounts to cash/check users.  Some argue that rising fees are hurting consumers.

Enter the regulators.  Maybe.  Our friends at Truth on the Market have a great symposium lined up that will explore the regulation of interchange and credit card markets.  I'll be tuning in next Tuesday and Wednesday. It's outside my research area, but I'm interested in hearing what these smart people have to tell me about my credit cards.

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