Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Credit Card Branded Trick Debuts This Weekend (

[The billable hours charged by the named defendants' legal and PR readers of may soar from this posting. So too may the potential windfall profits by introducing more costly interchange fees as premium branded credit cards are introduced.]

Bank of America and American Expresss Join to Sneak a Surreptitious Trojan Horse on Consumers and Businesses Beginning on Independence Day Weekend

Here we go. If merchants and consumers thought interchange fees were Way Too High in the past, just wait.

This holiday weekend, with near record gas prices, motorists are again going to pay upwards of $1.50 per fill-up in fees directly to the credit card companies and banks. But, that is just the beginning. Last year, we first warned of a new scheme from several banks to issue American Express® branded cards to enhance revenues at the expense of retailers and cardholders.

Now it is upon us.

Reuters® just announced that Bank of America® will introduce on Friday its first American Express®-branded cards. This is a double hit on consumers. First, near record interchange fees at the pumps and now more confusing interchange fees to boost the banks' revenues.

It remains unclear whether the new cards will incur a higher interchange fee. As background, last December we provided this
commentary: "American Express® tarnished, the brand leader's cache faces saturation."
This new scheme to have cardholders use the more expensive American Express® brand payment cards ties in to our earlier posting about why some banks might be like drug dealers; they entice cardholders to switch to new, premium cards with no annual fees and a rich rewards program with double points until next year. Then, what happens after you are hooked? What is unclear is what the added interchange fees will be; the newly branded cards will be connected to the American Express® payment network.