The Nation: Pay As You Go

Americans currently use some 200 million credit cards, those convenient laisser-passers of an increasingly demonetized society. But what about the cash customer — is he getting an even break? In a suit filed in U.S. district court in Washington last week, the Consumers Union maintained that he is being shortchanged. Naming the American Express Co. and a member bank of the BankAmericard system, C.U. charged that credit-card companies are in effect guilty of price fixing.

To sign up with a credit-card company, a shopkeeper must agree to pay a service charge of 2% to 8% of the sale price of goods, and...

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