On Transaction Fees and Credit Card Rewards

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee, CC BY 2.0.

Today’s must-read longread comes from Josh Barro at NYMag’s Intelligencer, and here’s the hook:

Amazon and Target have a surprising argument to make: The proliferation of rewards-rich credit cards is bad for consumers.

They are suing for the right to pick and choose which Visa and Mastercards they accept. They want to be able to reject the richest rewards cards – cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve, which offer generous cash back, points, and other perks, and which come with the highest transaction fees charged to merchants. They say, if they obtain this right, they’ll be able to charge lower prices to shoppers.

Not the Chase Sapphire Reserve!

But seriously — this is a fascinating piece, especially the part that explains that these transaction fees are one of the reasons why we have these high-rewards cards in the first place.

Read and discuss, and if you want to share which rewards cards you use, the comment section is open. (I’m running all of my personal purchases through the Capital One Quicksilver and getting 1.5 percent cash back, and I keep telling myself I should get one of those Chase Sapphire cards and I keep not doing it.)

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