Wednesday, April 26, 2006

It Pays To… Bank of America?

Author: Nick
Category: Money

Bank of America may be getting ready to join Visa, MasterCard, and other credit card companies by releasing its own brand of card. Already the largest issuer of credit cards in the country with over 40 million of their cards in the hands of Americans, Bank of America stands to make an extra $75 million a year by processing its own credit card transactions instead of paying the fees charged by Visa and MasterCard.

So what does this mean for the average consumer? Nothing but pure awesomeness, of course! Visa by itself has a virtual monopoly on the credit card business, and MasterCard, Discover, and American Express certainly aren’t helping to relieve the stranglehold of transaction fees on card-accepting merchants. If Bank of America enters the fray, it could put enormous pressure on those other companies to lower their fees. Lower fees for merchants could mean lower prices for buyers… or simply higher profits for merchants.

I’m hoping that Bank of America would pass on some of their savings to consumers–and not just in the form of lower APRs. Maybe we’ll see some fresh 0% balance transfer offers or top-notch reward cards from Bank of America to lure us into their web of credit cardy goodness.

Keeping the recent acquisition of MBNA (you know, that bank with the six million different card designs), Bank of America seems to be on a mission to become synonymous with credit cards. That sounds fine by me, and as long as either Bank of America or retailers remember us customers, there will be winners all around. Unless you’re Visa or MasterCard, of course.

Now all Bank of America needs to do is come up with a catchy slogan…

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