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December 10, 2012

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twitter.com/dgwbirch

Complete unbundling probably would annoy people, but a simple and clear surcharging policy wouldn't. The _law_ should be that retailers are not allowed to surcharge for debit cards and should be forced to accept debit cards for all transactions. But they should be allowed to surcharge for any other payment mechanism (including cash). This would align the social and private costs of the payment system in the correct manner.

Bank Of Me

Agree that "a clear statement of what is being charged, why and when" would be a good step forward in the direction of transparency and openness. However, should we let the market decide what is or is not an apple? We should hope that transparency aids markets in this process even if that means venturing onto the unfamiliar territories of MSE (or other social media venues) to explain, justify and perhaps even correct perceptions in the court of public opinion.

Iang

David of course jests in handing yet another subsidy to the banks at society's expense. If there is to be a law, Retailers should only be forced by law to surcharge *all* payment mechanisms, so as to properly account for their costs, and to show all consumers how much each impacts society. Far easier not to have a law at all, we might discovers something new....

Fritz Thomas Klein

Correct: The question is not just unbundling and transparency. It is competition and the lack thereof. And this leads back to intransparency, but another kind of intransparency: Competition will never evolve as long as the card associations' customers are the banks (issuing and acquiring) and prices are set at this level for customers (merchants and cardholders) that are affected, but have no direct choice. This is not what competition is about - decisions taken by others and not by the ones that are actually affected and should have a choice between different (price) offerings.

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