The Denver Post
Dec. 28, 2016
By Christopher Howes and Grier W. Bailey
Six years ago, Congress gave every consumer in the country, including Coloradans, a break.
Until then, banks had been piling gigantic processing fees onto merchants every time a customer swiped the banks’ debit card to pay for something, from lunch to tires to groceries and haircuts.
Just two huge credit-card companies, Visa and MasterCard, dominate this market and have the power to price-fix these “swipe fees” at outrageous levels.
Over the years, this business became a distorted version of the competitive free-market system that made our economy the largest in the world.
Instead, the swipe-fee market reverted back to the days of the great railroad and steel trusts and the robber barons of more than a hundred years ago.
Six years ago Congress stepped in with legislation to restore competition and fairness to the market and help consumers and small-business people.
For instance, Visa and MasterCard had paid their member banks to block other companies from processing debit transactions for merchants.