After more than a year of drawing attention to our assertion that MasterCard®, Visa® and its member banks have colluded to illegally fix-prices, we are seeing some solid changes. However, any movements forward, such as Visa's® independent board and MasterCard Inc's® IPO deal with future changes. The antitrust litigation dates back over many years and involves billions of dollars.
Today, Reuters announced that MasterCard Worldwide® recognizes that its core customers are not pleased with the company and its practices. According to Reuters, the second largest credit card association will finally begin posting U.S. interchange fee rate schedules on its website. With nearly one-hundred separate fees, even with more transparency, retailers will find little comfort, as there are so many cards and fees that identifying the rates will still be a challenge.
WayTooHigh.com - The Credit Card Interchange Report had also reported on another solution of posting the exact interchange fee as part of each credit and debit card receipt.
MasterCard® appears to also be closely reading WayTooHigh.com and our assertions that they profiteered with windfall earnings as gas pump prices soared. Their solution: impose interchange fee pricing caps on fuel purchases. This is little more than window dressing, because the cap on its interchange fees are for fuel purchases of more than $50 at gas stations. Most motorists pay under that amount to fill up.
How will they resolve the years and billions of dollars in unbridled profiteering from our nation's record gas prices. The white flag was slightly raised and the cartel has been caught again. MasterCard® appears to be recognizing what many have questioned. Why should the banks' fees rise when gas prices rocketed upwards? To even an average consumer, this move suggests that the credit card cartels' have signaled that their fees are way too high.
This latest symbolic fix offers little more than enticing a diner at an all-you-can-eat buffet with a free dessert after their entire meal is finished. There is no room left, just like with most automobiles which get by with a fill-up under fifty-dollars.
Even publishing a complete list of interchange fees on the MasterCard® website provides about the same value as McDonald's® posting its ingredients online and at their stores. A better solution is to post the exact interchange fee on every cardholder's receipt. This way, fully transparent attention will be shared with merchants and cardholders so they understand more about this $30 billion dollar annual hidden tax and battle against the credit card associations and their member banks.
What happens to those billions in previously paid service station interchange fees?
What about the other card association's participation? Will Visa® also cap their windfall profiteering or do more and rescind these fees?
[Commentary: WayTooHigh.com, news via Reuters]