February 15, 2006
Who is really supporting the consumer?
I spend a good part of my day dealing with the credit card industry and chuckling.
Today, PaymentsNews ran a press release from "Americans for Consumer Education & Competition" a self described "National Consumer Advocate." The press release was about Discover Card dropping its "No Surcharge Rule" which basically means that any merchant who accepts a credit or debit card may not charge extra for using a credit or debit card. Visa, Mastercard, and American Express still have this rule. On the one hand this rule does keep options open for customers, but the reason that retailers are unhappy with it is that the fee Visa and the other card associations charge has not really dropped over time and is increasing on cards that have expensive airline miles or other rewards associated. Retailers feel like the cartel will not decrease in price until customers come to understand the costs of their cards.
But what I find funny is the last paragraph of the press release:
Americans for Consumer Education & Competition advocates for financial literacy and consumer rights initiatives. ACEC communicates with more than 25 thousand consumers interested in issues from financial literacy to budgeting for retirement to cardholder benefits and rights. In addition, ACEC serves as a clearing-house for information on financial issues, as the organization monitors, tracks and provides analysis of financial legislation and litigation that has a direct impact on consumers. The organization enjoys the financial support of VISA USA.
I bet they do enjoy Visa's support. Funny how its the very last line in the release...