2019-08-06 Fees

Sending $20.00 and paying $23.42. What ever happened to micropayments? 17% fees for PayPal. And there’s the credit card institute, too.

Do I expect too much?

Based on the numbers from 2005 the BitPass Studio fee would have been $1 + 10%, i.e. $3.00 or 15%. Fees actually went up.

But as @freakazoid said: “Give someone a monopoly and they’re gonna find a way to monetize it.”

This is also what I hate about the vision of a cashless society. When we were in Sweden in 2018 we saw many shops that refused cash. I don’t think we ever got any cash in two weeks. Every single transaction benefitted the credit card company and the credit card issuer.

You might argue that cash also costs money: handling it, counting it, guarding it, escorting it, losing it, all of it costs money. The difference is the digitalization of credit card fees. The cost of cash is distributed, decentralized. The cost of credit cards is concentrated, monopolized.

A cashless society also means that you are required to have a bank account and a credit score. Yay for surveillance. Yay for the rich. Who cares about the poor.

It’s also a single point of failure: if the electronic infrastructure breaks down, all trade stops. A break down of the power grid, of the credit card servers, of the Internet: all of these nodes are suddenly even more critical than before, even juicer targets for sabotage, for cyber attacks. Who is going to keep us safe? Placing all our eggs into a very small number of baskets is the opposite of resilience. It makes us vulnerable. It’s a strategic blunder.



Say No to the “Cashless Future” — and to Cashless Stores, ACLU:

The rise of cashless establishments is happening amid continuing hype over the supposed dawn of a “cashless future” and agitation by some very powerful interests that would love to see cash disappear. The credit card companies love it, naturally, and tech industry associations have also pushed for the concept.


– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-13 05:46 UTC

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