Monday, February 13, 2006

U.S. Congress Interchange Hearing, Wednesday, Feb 15, 2006 (

The Law and Economics of Interchange Fees. Hearing by the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection. Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 10:00 AM, 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. The Committee on Energy and Commerce is chaired by U.S. Congressman, Joe Barton.

For background, Click here to read the Sept 15th The Washington Post article: "Card Companies Are Filling Up At the Station." Which references, and also profiles Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) who remarked that "the percentage fee system -- giving the bank more money just because a consumer bought more gas -- "doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me." - The Credit Card Interchange Report explained that there is no incremental benefit from consumers to pay more as gas prices doubled. This is a similar pricing model to realtors who were comfortable charging 6% commissions. But, even they made adjustments as housing prices doubled and tripled in some regions. Deals and fee discounts from brokers became commonplace. But, for the banks, and Visa and MasterCard, they seemed greedier and more focused on piling up windfall profiteering that even Exxon Mobil pointed fingers at in full page advertisements. Instead, Visa and MasterCard should have been helping motorists during this national energy crisis. contacted both Visa and MasterCard's CEO's to request that interchange fees at service stations rescinded during this crisis.