Life might be simpler and more efficient if retailers could levy a
surcharge that covers their costs to accept cards and let
consumers figure out whether to pay it. But the card companies
don’t allow that, and Congress hasn’t yet forced their hand,
though this is now how things work in Australia (where some
retailers charge excessive fees, alas).
So what’s an American consumer to do in the meantime? For help
answering that, I turned to Dave Hanson. Mr. Hanson, a Spokane,
Wash., resident, is one of the savviest card users I know. He also
happens to have studied philosophy in graduate school at the
University of Chicago and taught applied ethics at Gonzaga
He’s not cutting up his cards just yet. “The marginal effect of my
individual use of plastic simply won’t impact the larger outcome,”
he said. “The assumption that we ought to act in a way that we
wish all of us would act ignores the fact that there is no
mechanism by which we can ensure that we will all act that way.
And we won’t.”
The only practical solution would be for Congress to mandate lower transaction fees. I fail to see how this either should or could be Apple’s problem to solve.