We Didn’t Regulate Credit Cards, We Regulated People

openmarket.org | November 18, 2013

I described the effects of the Durbin Amendment to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act in addition to a general overview of why current levels of regulation hurt the economy. The Amendment gave the Federal Reserve the power to limit interchange fees, which they did at around 24c per transaction for “non-exempt” issuers. When the Durbin Amendment was first mooted, based on the Australian experiences, we predicted that none of the savings to merchants would be passed on to consumers and that it would bring an end to credit card rewards programs and free debit cards. Now, thanks to a study by David Evans et al. of the University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute, we know that that did happen, and that consumers are worse off to the tune of around $200 per household.

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