We have been following the litigation over swipe fees–the fees that the card companies impose on merchants each time a credit or debit card is used. Go, for instance, here and here.
A major concern is that if part of the swipe fee is the product of anti-competitive behavior or legislation or regulation enacted at the behest of the card industry to keep fees artifically high, consumers and merchants will pay the price (in billions) in higher prices and/or lost revenues.
The New York Times has just published essays by five "debaters" interested in the topic:
1 – A Blatantly Anticompetitive Practice by Lyle Beckwith of the National Association of Convenience Stores ("Merchants should have real choices in how their card transactions are processed, and they should know what it costs to swipe.")
2 – Down With the Big Swipe by Nancy Folbre of the Univ. of Massachusetts ("The European Union’s proposal to limit interchange fees provides a good model for regulatory reform in the United States.")
3 – In Europe, We Want a Level Playing Field by Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission ("Limiting credit card fees may also address some of the reasons why Europeans shop online much less than Americans do.")
4- Swipe Fee Caps Don't Benefit Consumers by Geoffrey Manne of Lewis & Clark Law School ("In countries that have capped interchange fees, retailers haven’t passed the savings on to consumers.")
5 – Electronic Payment Is Valuable by Alex Brill of the American Enterprise Institute ("Service providers incur costs for their services and deserve to charge a market-based rate to their customers.")