retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

More than 1,600 merchants including Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. are urging U.S. lawmakers to pass legislation that aims to break the hold that Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. have over the credit-card market.

"The bill, which Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.) and Sen. Roger Marshall (R., Kan.) introduced in July, would give merchants the right to route many credit-card payments over networks other than Visa and Mastercard. In a letter this week to all members of Congress, the merchants said the proposed legislation would increase competition, leading to a reduction in the fees they pay when they accept credit cards.

"The merchants said the fees are passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices."  The card networks, however, "have said card fees help cover costs for things like innovation and preventing fraud. Credit cards can also encourage consumers to buy more, networks say."