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To decrease expenses for customers, the Credit Card Competitors Act aims to enhance competitors in the payment processing market and lower interchange costs by banning the safest and biggest credit card processors from completely operating. But manipulating the market would eventually harm customers.

Sens. Richard Durban (D-Ill.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) introduced the bill in 2022 in response to complaints from little organizations and customers who are frustrated by improved expenses of interchange costs and asked Congress to intervene. Interchange costs are expenses that organizations ought to spend to accept credit card payments, and quantity to about two-three percent per acquire.

Although these costs have generally been partially passed on to customers by means of greater priced products, organizations are increasingly charging “extra” for making use of a credit-card — essentially decoupling the price tag of an item with the interchange charge. This is in portion due to inflation and in portion due to a lack of price tag transparency among organizations and customers. The Credit Card Competitors Act would not resolve this challenge.

The bill aims to curb the perceived market place dominance of American Express, Learn, Visa and Mastercard by restricting their potential to charge interchange costs. These firms control 77 % of the credit card market place, and in 2021 they produced $77 billion in interchange costs — a sum they share with partnering banks. If passed in its existing type, the Act would restrict credit card issuers (banks) that have more than $one hundred billion in assets from processing transactions on the two networks with the biggest market place shares of credit cards. (Although not explicitly named, this suggests Visa and Mastercard.)

Additional, the proposed Act would prohibit networks that have affiliated firms with the credit card issuer from processing the transaction. For instance, the Visa Chase Sapphire Card would not be in a position to use a Visa exchange network. 

This suggests the firms with the biggest economies of scale and security attributes would no longer be permitted to make dollars by means of interchange costs for a substantial portion of the market place. This is a shed-shed for each credit card processors and prospects. To get decrease processing costs, prospects would most likely go with new credit card processing firms that enter the market place with fewer security protocols due to their size. This suggests that prospects who use a credit card to acquire goods and solutions would take on a greater danger as their acquiring facts might be much less protected. 

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A single widespread argument in favor of this Act is that decrease exchange costs would imply decrease finish costs to customers. But this is untrue. Economic research shows that credit card users’ demand is inelastic. In other words, customers are not price tag sensitive to the potential to use a credit card, which is partially due to the declining part of physical money in society and the improved reward points offered for making use of credit cards. The provide of firms accepting credit cards is also inelastic — firms comprehend their volume of sales will lower if they do not accept credit cards for payment and, hence, they are not price tag sensitive to the costs of accepting credit cards. As such, each customers and firms are willingto spend the interchange charge to acquire and sell goods.

Lowering interchange costs by hindering prosperous company is not great legislation. Clients and firms are prepared to spend far more to have the comfort of making use of and accepting credit cards, but they might not be prepared to accept the improved danger that comes along with the ban. In addition, if the Credit Card Competitors Act is passed, the improved savings to firms would most likely not pass down to customers, considering that customers are not price tag sensitive in the initially spot.

Danielle Zanzalari is an assistant professor of economics at Seton Hall University, a Garden State Initiative contributor and Young Voices contributor.

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