Crude Oil Nearly Doubled Since February (WayTooHigh.com)

October 31, 2007

Back in February, when we thought $50.00 a barrel crude oil was too much, the banks were reaping huge windfalls from their merchant interchange fees. But now. Now, with gas nearly 100% higher – in just eight months, think of the shared gouging that is being practiced by the financial institutions. What other business can demand a nearly 100% price increase and in a matter of a few months? We are talking billions of dollars, but the banks and their market power are remaining silent on how they can justify these fees.

“$105 a Barrel” Would Mean More Windfall Profits for Credit Card Companies (WayTooHigh.com) (Originally posted on May 26, 2006)

[Commentary: WayTooHigh.com]

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Repost: Printing The Exact Interchange Fee on Every Electronic Charge Receipt (WayTooHigh.com)

October 31, 2007

Printing Exact Merchant Interchange Fee on Charge Receipts by Thanksgiving (WayTooHigh.com)

Seventy-two pages, five-pages or one line? (WayTooHigh.com)

Why not post exact interchange fee on receipts? (WayTooHigh.com)

Every credit and debit card receipt should include interchange charge (WayTooHigh.com)

MasterCard® interchange rate schedules on website (via PRNewswire)


On a Personal Note, Today, ScanMyPhotos.com [30 Minute Photos Etc.] was Profiled in USA Today (Click here to read)

October 31, 2007

What’s Higher: Gas Prices or MasterCard’s® Market Capitalization? (WayTooHigh.com)

October 31, 2007

With gas prices nearing $100.00 a barrel and MasterCard’s® stock price soaring towards $200.00 a share, we cannot help but draw a comparison. More motorists are paying with plastic because they simply do not have enough money in their wallets. The windfall earnings to the banks with still own a hefty percent of the world’s second largest payment network continues to rise.

In May, 2006, Forbes’ Liz Moyer wrote an article about MasterCard’s pending IPO, and questioned, “How priceless is this IPO?” Click here to read. Moyer’s was questioning the risk factors to the card association and its investors due to its “considerable litigation risks.” As the lead plaintiff in this antitrust case, we haven’t seen a significant change of direction and the case continues. So, why exactly is MasterCard a buy at $190.00, when within its SEC offering documents they, like Visa has too, explained that my victory could lead to the company’s insolvency. Perhaps, the only thing that has changed are investor’s memories of this case. With nearly 800 below WayTooHigh.com news and commentary updates, there is a wealth of reasons to be even more worried than was Forbes’ reporter.

[commentary: WayTooHigh.com]


Visa’s® ‘Anti-Gay’ TV Commercial Is Offensive On Many Levels (WayTooHigh.com)

October 29, 2007

Click here to view [choose “When the Saints Come Marching In’]

Click here for an overview of the spot.

Click here to view other “Life Takes Visa®” spots.

Click here to read how Visa describes it in their online press release.

There are a series of similar Visa USA ads which depict the mental damage inflicted when consumers pay with paper rather than plastic. One spot shows a man buying a donut with cash, while a line of hungry people flash that same stymied look that an overwhelmed mom gives her kids when they start shouting in a supermarket. The message is “Life Takes Visa,” but the reality is that if the donut shop is anything like the one next door to our Irvine, CA retail location, the owner is paying a hefty price when people use a credit card – especially a signature affinity card that come with even higher merchant rates. The fact is, with minimum payments, that donut shop owner may have just paid out more in interchange fees than the cost of the donut. According to Mitch Goldstone, president and CEO of ScanMyPhotos.com and 30 Minute Photos Etc., “the Visa’s® gang of advertising handlers presented inflammatory, anti-gay stereotypes in it’s new kick-off to the 2007 NFL season with its ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ TV commercial.” Goldstone, who along with his partner, Carl Berman, are also the lead plaintiff’s in the multi-billion dollar merchant interchange antitrust litigation and explained that another worrisome image from the commercial that also impacts all retailers is the new message that cash is bad.

The TV ad, airing during football games depicts how easy and fun it is to use your Visa payment cards to buy products, but when a preppy-looking man, in a pink shirt and sweater delicately wrapped around his neck becomes the standout, lone customer using cash, everything stops. It doesn’t show how frustrated clerks get when the electronic payment network is slow or when the magnetic strip on the back of a credit card is worn, and thus requiring manual account number entry, which is one of the nearly one-hundred separate and higher interchange fees imposed on retailers.

In the TV spot, the cash-paying customer became the protagonist and tool for Visa’s latest attempt to train consumers to use payment cards, rather than cash. The message is: if you dare to use cash, you will make everyone angry and turn against you. A clearer message to Visa and MasterCard is from us, your customers: Interchange fees are a $40 billion annual hidden tax on retailers, consumers and our economy and those abroad.

We are not the first to note how damaging this ad is.

Here are a few postings on the YouTube site:

“Homophobic”

” Nothing great, or even good, about this ad”
” [I]sn’t it typically the other way around…takes longer waiting for a fool to pay with a credit card than cash.dumb commerical”

[commentary, WayTooHigh.com, via You Tube-linked Visa commercial]


The Flood of Banks’ Windfall Profiteering at the Pumps Rises (commentary, WayTooHigh.com)

October 29, 2007

Oil leaped to a record high – surpassing $93 a barrel, which means the thousands of credit card association member banks are reaping even greater rewards as they charge a percent of each fill up from their credit card interchange fees.

During one U.S House hearing from time ago, the question was asked why the banks [Visa® and MasterCard®] are charging such high fees. That question was raised when oil was a tiny fraction of today’s $93.00 a barrel.

We ask the question again.

  • Whatever happened to MasterCard’s proposal to cap interchange fees at the pumps at $50.00?
  • Why, as best we can identify, did Visa remain silent and not join in the cap on interchange fees?
  • If they can put a cap on gas station fees, why not all fees, since, it is our contention that the bulk of the actual costs are tiny (only about 13% of interchange fee costs are used to cover its transaction costs).
  • If MasterCard could issue a press release that touted a cap on interchange fess at the pumps, why not in everything else too?

    Interesting that Visa enable its much smaller card association ally to come up with the cap in interchange fees at service stations without matching the program. If they were truly competing with each other, you would have thought the price elasticity would have snapped in place. By the way, whatever happened to that MasterCard’s interchange fee limit, did it ever take effect that was promoted in their press release more than a year ago? [MasterCard was reported to explain that they were establishing this cap, but, was it ever imposed]?

    Remember: both Visa and MasterCard are/were owned by thousand of the same member banks, so they were more like a giant Starbucks-type business, then separate, like McDonald’s and Burger King. Could you imagine if two independent, competing multi-national business conglomerates had the same board representation and the same group of owners? Think of Richard Branson’s Virgin Airlines and its arch rival, British Airlines. I doubt they even talk to each other, other than in biting advertisements taunting each other, and thus much less likely to meet together and use their market power to illegally fix airline prices. Hey, that is our argument for how the electronic payment network regularly operate[s]d.

    MasterCard’s® Planned Interchange Fee Cap For Gas Retailers (WayTooHigh.com) Dec 16, 2006

    [Commentary: WayTooHigh.com


Bank of America® Website: "Fee and Process Explained" (WayTooHigh.com)

October 27, 2007

One of the named defendants in our antitrust litigation has a website link and theatrical-like polished video to explain its fees and, in their words “how to prevent fees.”

Lots of useful data, but conspicuously void are any links for merchants to help us, and therefore consumers, prevent our $40 billion annual hidden electronic payment fee.

In their words, click here to view.

[Commentary: WayTooHigh.com]