In response to Andrew Martin’s July 16th “Card Fees Pit Retailers Against Banks” New York Times article, I submitted this response:
I appreciated your thorough article, ‘Card Fees Pit Retailers Against Banks,’ New York Times, July 16, 2009, describing the serious problem of exorbitant and ever-increasing interchange fees incurred by merchants in the United States.
It is ironic that in a day and age when many businesses face possible extinction due to rapid advancement in technology that card payment systems like Visa and MasterCard continue to thrive and grow using magnetic strips embedded in plastic cards, which is a device closer to the bygone era of carbon copies than to advance technology.
All merchants should applaud the populist pressure and Congressional efforts to confront this hidden tax on the economy represented by interchange fees. It is important to note, however, that the problem is even greater for Internet-based merchants who have no choice but to accept payment cards and are captives to this system developed by the banks.
Perhaps this is the reason that banks impose even higher interchange fees on internet merchants, who also often receive no payment guarantee. That is why we, along with many other traditional merchants, both large and small, are leading efforts in the In re Payment Card Interchange Fee antitrust lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York to eliminate interchange fees and other abusive rules imposed on merchants.
Hopefully, through our efforts, combined with those of other merchants, their customers and Congress, we can succeed in eliminating this abuse of market position by the banks and their card companies.
Mr. Goldstone edits WayTooHigh.com, The Credit Card Interchange Report covering news and commentary on his battle against Visa and MasterCard
Additional comments are posted on the NYT’s community forum website.