Bank Funded Coalition Fires Blanks With Baseless Press Release

The bank funded association called Electronic Payments Coalition issued the following press release which is largely debunked from many of the prior postings.  It is as silly as Senator McCain’s  commercial attempting to link Senator Obama with Brittney Spears and Paris Hilton. 

Personally, I cannot think of anything more anti-competitive than interchange fees, along with Visa and MasterCard’s business model; leading to a nearly $50 billion annual hidden tax on Americans. 

What was so remarkable about the below news release was the public comments by Visa and MasterCard.  Collectively,  Josh Floum, general counsel for Visa Inc. and MasterCard both boldly described their industry as being “fiercely competitive.”  With a staggering 80% market power and unbridled control over the world’s electronic payment network, the reality is they are fierce, but only to protect their cartel at all costs to benefit their member banks, rather than consumers.  Average shoppers are forced, along with merchants, to pay this nearly $50 billion annual hidden tax that is no longer based on cost, but rather pure greed.  Mr. Floum even said that if the Credit Card Fair Fee Act is passed it will “suppress competition and innovation and result in unintended and harmful consequences for consumers.” 

I have not read this type of scare tactic since the Washington, DC, public relations firm, Creative Response Concepts concocted the “Swift Boat” campaign, so I would not be surprised if that firm are also regular readers of

From the below press release, the card association’s claim that their fees on gasoline are only a penny or so a gallon, then why does ARCO discount as much as they do or Mr. Small gas station immediately cut prices by 10 cents a gallon when they have a cash option? And, why are thousands of independent service station owners being forced to close down, as interchange fees have doubled along with gas prices?

The Electronic Payments Coalition press release is reprinted in its entirety, below.

Consumers Looking for Relief at the Gas Pump, Not More PR Spin From Lobbyists in Washington, DC. NACS Pumptopper Gimmick Misleads Consumers about High Gas Prices
July 31, 2008
WASHINGTON, July 31, 2008 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Electronic Payments Coalition called on gas retailing members of the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) not to display “pumptopper” advertisements that mislead consumers about the cause of high gas prices. The NACS ad gimmick is part of a high-cost lobbying campaign designed to provide a financial windfall to the world’s most profitable companies at a cost to consumers.
“American consumers are looking for relief from skyrocketing gas prices — not gimmicks from a high priced lobbying campaign designed to line the pockets of the largest and most profitable retailers,” said Peter Madigan, executive director of the Electronic Payments Coalition. “This sort of deceptive advertising campaign about the cause of high gas prices does not do consumers any good and insults their intelligence.”
Congress is currently considering legislation that would provide large retailers an antitrust exemption that would legalize collusion in order to artificially lower the prices they pay to accept credit and debit cards. This government intervention to lower retailers’ costs of doing business will ultimately increase the cost of credit for consumers, decrease or eliminate card reward programs, and reduce access to affordable credit for those who need it.
As an alternative, the Electronic Payments Coalition has provided free posters and flyers — available as a download through the EPC website ( — to help them educate their customers on the true costs associated with a gallon of gas, as provided by a credible source — the U.S. Department of Energy.
“It is grossly misleading — and frankly not even believable — to imply that the penny or so per dollar merchants pay to accept credit cards has anything to do with skyrocketing gas prices,” said Madigan. “Credit and debit cards offer significant benefits, both to the gas retailers that accept them, and to the customers that pay with them. It is important that consumers have a clear understanding the full picture here.”
According to the Energy Information Administration, which are official energy statistics from the United States government, the price for a gallon of regular gasoline breaks down accordingly: crude oil (74%), taxes (10%), refining (9%) and distribution and marketing (7%).
About the Electronic Payments Coalition
The Electronic Payments Coalition is dedicated to protecting consumer value, choice and competition in the electronic payments system. The coalition is a broad-based group of payment card networks, financial services companies, and financial services trade associations whose primary goal is to educate policy-makers, consumers and the media about the value of electronic payments systems — including economic growth, convenience, speed, reliability, and security — and to ensure the continued growth of global commerce by promoting consumer choice and the stability of the vast payment networks that connect millions of consumers with millions of retailers each and every day.
SOURCE Electronic Payments Coalition

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