Ron Lieber wrote in The New York Times that JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America have overhauled their debit card overdraft fees.
Read article (9/23).
This has been a multi-billion dollar annual boondoggle for the banks at the expense of millions of consumers. The larger question is why haven’t the banks also addressed merchant interchange fees – which account for substantially more unfair costs to businesses and consumers?
It was the public outcry, an NBC Nightly News segment and extensive media coverage on debit card overdraft fees that helped cause this very rapid shift in policy. It is also being used as a marketing tool, as the credit card issuers can now promote they have waived and adjusted the terms of these overdraft fees to better compete. However, there is no competition when it comes to merchant interchange fees; retailers are still forced to accept Visa and MasterCard’s terms. Issuing banks can simply pass along any lost overdraft fees with higher merchant interchange fees, which simply means that ultimately the consumer still gets screwed.
My five-year legal battle as class-representative in an antitrust class-action against Visa, MasterCard and its member banks continues to reap unsubstantiated profits for the credit card companies with even greater costs.
Merchant interchange fees are an insult that is an atrocity and slap in the face of every consumer and merchant that accepts debit and credit cards. Along with the banks, which until Visa and MasterCard’s IPO’s controlled one-hundred percent of the two giant credit card associations, are continuing to wage a battle against its customers. If only they listened to their critics addressing these equally excessive charges.