Friday, December 17, 2010

Short Takes: Anti-Competitive Credit-Card Companies, White-Collar Crime in Canada, and more

The Competition Bureau is going after Visa and MasterCard for anti-competitive practices. At issue is rules they impose on vendors that drive up costs for everyone regardless of whether they pay with a credit card or not. The responses from Visa and MasterCard accusing retailers of trying to pass costs onto consumers are mostly nonsense. All costs get passed to consumers eventually. The best way to benefit consumers is to lower total costs. Allowing consumers to pay less when they use a cheaper form of payment is the right approach.

Larry MacDonald (this web page has disappeared) says that Canada is at greater risk than the U.S. from Ponzi schemes because of our lower protection from white-collar crime.

Canadian Capitalist found a case of an investor trying to select winning money managers with graphology.

Preet Banerjee says the best path to financial health is to focus on the big things and not the details.

Potato got caught by a Pharma Plus location that doesn’t honour their parent company’s offers.

Money Smarts is on a quest to eliminate all paper bills and statements.

Big Cajun Man is tired of answering the same investor profile questions over and over again.

Million Dollar Journey has some stories about what can happen when you lend money to friends or family.

Financial Highway reviewed Gary Kaminsky’s book Smarter than the Street and seemed to like it more than I did.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the mention. I did follow the link on the receipt to do the survey, but they never had any kind of open-answer field to point out that specific problem. I haven't gotten around yet to emailing corporate to find out what the deal is...

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  2. I didn't know my "premium" Mastercard cost retailers 25% more than a basic Mastercard. Seems like Visa and Mastercard have brought this on with their quest for larger profits. They have to be careful since they are almost a duopoly.

    In most cases, a 1.5% discount would encourage me to pay cash. I have found some of the benefits of using credit cards useful lately though.

    I have a printer that started malfunctioning 13-months after I bought it. Since it had a 12-month warranty, I approached my credit card company, which gives a no-charge extra year of warranty for purchases made with the card. I appreciate this feature, that until now I have completely ignored.

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  3. @Gene: Yes, the cost of all the rewards credit cards offer get spread across all consumers regardless of how they pay, whether it be cash, debit, basic credit card, or premium credit card. Of course, the premium cards charge merchants more, but this extra cost is not borne by the holders of these cards alone.

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