Monday, July 03, 2006

Visa® and MasterCard's® Very Unpatriotic July 4th Gift to America (

[Update. On July 5th, oil reached a record $75 per barrel]

Consumers are bracing for more shameless windfall profiteering by Visa® and MasterCard® on Independence Day - and beyond - in the United States.

With oil prices reaching $74 a barrel, the banks are poised to reap even higher merchant interchange fees at the pumps. When home prices soared, even realtors lowered their traditional 6% fees, but the brazen profiteering by the banks shows no let up.

Because the two giant credit card cartels, with 85% of the market demands a percent of the sales from most credit card transactions, as gas prices double so too have their very un-American profitering during this national energy crisis. In 1999, when oil prices were just $9 a barrel, the interchange fees were much smaller. But, since crude-oil prices have tripled since 2002, it raises the question of just how much more money the banks reaped from these record rates.