Don't Fence In Credit Cards, Free The Banks

With 293 million credit cards in circulation, Americans charged $366 billion worth of goods and services on plastic last year. Numbers like that have spelled big profits in recent years for U. S. banks, almost the sole issuers of Visa and MasterCard, the biggest brands going. Despite tough economic times, bank card divisions continue to mint money, though the rest of their institutions may be bedeviled by bad loans. Small wonder that bankers are howling over the invasion of the bank card business by nonbank giants, such as AT&T.

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