Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"GREEN FRIDAY" Can Save American's More Than $200 Million Dollars (

This year, in stores across America, the day after Thanksgiving will be known as "‘GREEN’ FRIDAY." is projecting that the banks may incur a windfall merchant interchange fee of more than $200,000,000 during the four-day Thanksgiving holiday. Over two-hundred million dollars!

GREEN FRIDAY can considerably alter that calculation ... and help feed many people.

When consumers participate in GREEN FRIDAY and use cash rather than debit and credit cards, the banks will take notice. This will also help consumers better budget their spending. Another advantage is when retailers contribute proceeds from their savings to local "Meals on Wheels" and food bank charities, the hungry will be well fed during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Based on the national interest in GREEN FRIDAY, we are finding that most people were unfamiliar with the enormous magnitude that merchants, and therefore consumers, pay to Visa and MasterCard each year. Both of these credit card associations are owned and managed by the banks which sit on Visa and MasterCard's board of directors and regularly meet to fix the charges retailers pay.

[As lead plaintiff in the antitrust, class-action price-fixing litigation and as co-editors of we want to clearly point out that price fixing is illegal. The banks set the interchange fees as high as they can get away with and there are no market forces to restrain them from doing so].

This is the reason consumers are gearing up for GREEN FRIDAY. They will use the busiest shopping day of the year to flex their vocal and economic currency to draw attention to the banks' ever-increasing windfall profiteering schemes.

While nation's like Canada have no interchange fees for debt cards, and there is no interchange fees when writing checks, the banks explain that what use to be cost-based is not a reflection of their expenses.

For instance, fraud is one of their main arguments for record high interchange fees. Even though there is no added risk from a worn magnetic strip on the back of a charge card, merchants are forced to pay more. And they pay more for nearly one-hundred other rates, whereas a decade ago there was only a handful of separate interchange fees.

So, if risk of fraud is the reason for excessive interchange fees, then why is it that other nation's have lower fees? Countries better known for economic instability like Greece, Italy and Brazil have tiny interchange fees. If the communications and technological infrastructure costs for transacting business is the argument, then the United States should have the lowest rates.

Banks know that bad debit and fraud issues are better addressed by restricting the more than 5-billion pieces of junk-mail sent each year, often to consumers at higher credit risks. Why merchants are forced to cover consumer fraud makes about as much sense as why merchants now have to pay even higher interchange fees when a shopper uses an affinity frequent flyer charge card rather than a standard card.

Additional information on GREEN FRIDAY is pending.