Media Statement – Visa Statement Regarding the Canadian Code of Conduct – Yahoo! Finance

April 19, 2010

[And Visa, too. Interesting that the same banks that owned Visa own MasterCard; the two giant credit card association (which say they are independent) regularly act as if they are operating from the same corner office]


TORONTO, April 16 /CNW/ – Visa supports the Canadian government’s goal to encourage transparency and merchant choice within the payments marketplace – two important pillars on which Visa has built its business domestically and internationally.

Visa already provides merchants much of what today’s Code of Conduct requests payment networks offer, such as full transparency of interchange rates, merchant choice on acceptance of Visa Debit cards, and the ability of merchants to offer discounts for other methods of payment. We appreciate the government’s inclusion of all payment networks to ensure merchants are equally informed through a level playing field.

via Media Statement – Visa Statement Regarding the Canadian Code of Conduct – Yahoo! Finance.

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PBS Frontline: The Card Game

November 24, 2009

Complete info on the PBS Frontline segment called: The Card Game”

Click here to watch

“As credit card companies face rising public anger, new regulation from Washington and staggering new rates of default and bankruptcy, FRONTLINE correspondent Lowell Bergman investigates the future of the massive consumer loan industry and its impact on a fragile national economy.”

THE FIGHT OVER INTERCHANGE FEES: “Interchange fees are now the central issue in what is being called the largest private antitrust litigation in U.S. history.  Five years ago, Mitch Goldstone, an independent owner of, an online photo service company, was struggling to keep his Southern California shop afloat. He began scrutinizing every expense and revenue stream of his small business. When he realized that an already costly expense — interchange fees – was increasing, he was livid.  “It got to the point where I had just a few employees and things were looking really bleak,” said Goldstone. “Interchange fees were the one expense that was going up, no matter what I did.”  In 2005, Goldstone (PDF) and more than 30 other merchants filed antitrust lawsuits in U.S District Court against Visa, MasterCard and several of their member banks, accusing them of breaching federal antitrust law by fixing the prices on interchange fees.”

  • Tricks and Traps of the Card Game
  • Credit Unions
  • Why Not Cap Interest Rates?
  • The Military’s War on Debt
  • The Changes Ahead
  • Pending Legislation
  • Is a New Agency Needed?
  • The Changing Landscape
  • Payday Loans — A Primer
  • The Industry’s Lobbying & Financial Clout
  • The Fight Over Interchange Fees
  • A New Consumer Protection Agency?
  • What’s the Consumer’s Responsibility?
  • South Korea: A Nation Living Off Credit
  • Europe’s Credit/Debt Situation

  • Credit Cards Lobbyist Tries To Explain Higher Card Rates (via KFI-AM 640)

    October 30, 2009

    Lobbyist Tries To Explain Higher Card Rates on the Thursday, October 29th 6pm segment of The John and Ken KFI-AM 640 Los Angeles radio show.

    Listen here

    Alternative link to listen, click here

    Watch What Congress Needs to Know About Interchange Fees

    April 1, 2009


    Now that we own the banks, end merchant credit card interchange fees

    February 19, 2009

    During this unprecedented global financial meltdown , the United States and its citizens now own a sizable  share of major financial institutions.  The question is, why aren’t we demanding that our ownership stake in the banks force them to eliminate those unfair and anticompetitive merchant interchange fees?

    To help win over credibility among merchants and consumers, the banks, along with MasterCard and Visa should be forced to move forward and reevaluate their long standing unbridled market power – every time a consumer uses an electronic payment credit or debit card.  We own the banks and we should be running them too.   

    The crippled banking institution has achieved what MasterCard and Visa warned (about themselves) in their SEC IPO filings – they are becoming insolvent. The nearly $60 billion in annual merchant interchange fees and Visa and MasterCard’s merchant discount money grab must end and now is the time.

    Think of what these billions in erroneous fees could do if put back in the hands of retailers and consumers, rather than funneled to Visa, MasterCard and its mismanaged member banks? 

    The banks are failing us.  The government bailout proceeds are being blanketed to many far reaching overflowing pockets, like the scores of law firms that are battling millions of retailers over the merchant interchange fee antitrust litigation. It has now been about four years since launching the class-action antitrust litigation; millions of dollars have been spent to defend this unfair fee on Americans, but now that we are paying the bank’s legal fees and effectively suing ourselves, it’s time to draw more attention to and ask more questions.

    [The U.S. government injected 45 billion taxpayer dollars into Bank of America and Citigroup, two of the named defendants in the merchant interchange litigation.  And, more than $400 billion to cover the banks’ losses – $60 billion would go a long way to cover these fees].

    Visa and MasterCard Responds to Global Recession by Maintaining High Merchant Fees

    October 17, 2008

    When it comes to Visa and MasterCard’s nearly $50 billion annual hidden tax on Americans, they are in a world all unto themselves.

    The economic realities of a global recession and market meltdown is universal, yet retailers are not seeing any real relief from the fees we are forced to pay the banks and those “discount” fees to Visa and MasterCard.

    Heck, even OPEC and its cartel-commandeering of gas prices were forced to lower their fees – and big time!  The housing industry is in turmoil, auto manufacturers and car dealers are hemoraging and gas is less than half the cost from just a few months ago, yet interchange fees are stubbornly high.

    In the past few months, oil prices have dived below a (once whopping) $70 a barrel; in the past few months crude prices have lost more than half its value.

    These are huge numbers. Consumers are buying less and everyone is impacted, even OPEC. Then there is Visa, MasterCard and its member banks and their unbridled greed. They have the market power and strength to collude and fix prices – Visa and MasterCard control about 80% of the credit card business.

    The world is hurting and the two giant credit card associations and its thousands of member banks are doing nothing about it, or so it seems. They are artificially keeping those rates at record levels. Why exactly do merchants in the U.S. pay nearly three times other industrialized nations’ interchange fees?

    The recent victory by Discover Financial Services, literally on the courthouse steps, flaunts the card associations’ impudence and disregard.  Price fixing, unfair fees and scorn for their customers are a hallmarks for Visa and MasterCard.

    Oil price declines are just another example of how powerful the banks are, and just how remorseless they are by protecting their mighty credit card fee scheme.  It seems that they do not care and instead want to milk consumers and merchants for every penny, up to the last minute.

    In July, when oil prices peaked, the interchange fees were still at near record levels. Technology, efficiencies and now, the global economic crisis is having no impact on the fiefdom enjoyed by the banks.  Perhaps as the Federal government nationalized the banks, they will demand that their “partners” seize upon this opportunity to review their interchange fees?

    After all, the U.S. government is also a player in the merchant interchange battle – they pay millions each year in fees when people charge with credit and debit cards for services and products sold by the government.

    In an earlier posting, I quipped that a barrel of gas would more likely fall to $50 than interchange fees be lowered. {who would have known?]  Interchange fees are the cost that merchants are forced to pay to the banks, and in turn to Visa and MasterCard though a not-very “discount” fee.