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I agree with the merchants' attorney, Lloyd Constantine, who stated: "The debit- and credit-card cartel has stalled the judicial process every step of the way, squeezing every last penny of their hidden tax on
consumers until the day they know is coming -- when the courts order this policy stopped."

Here's why I'm on Visa and Mastercard's side:

When I use a credit card, the merchant pays a fee in the 1 or 2 percent range, and they're contractually obligated to charge the same whether I'm paying cash or credit.

When I use a debit card with a PIN:

* My bank hits me for a fee of about $1.

* The merchant often hits me for a fee of between $0.35 and $2.00

I don't like paying these fees. Would prices on many items be 1 or 2 percent less if credit cards didn't charge that fee? Perhaps, but that aspect of the picture isn't going to change. I just hate paying these fees that everyone wants to line up to assess when I elect to type in my PIN number.

-- Mark
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