This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
As Congress prepares to vote on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, the eight members who currently sit on the highest court in the land spent yesterday discussing a topic that resonates with plenty of TPG readers: credit cards.
No, they weren’t trying to figure out how to maximize sign-up bonus offers or earn free nights at major hotel chains. Instead, the legal debate centered on a business you’ve probably never heard of (Expressions Hair Design) and transaction fees that you probably never discuss (interchange fees). These are the fees that retailers pay each time you swipe your credit card, and naturally, they don’t like them. “Some merchants balk at paying the fees and want to discourage the use of credit cards, or at least pass on the fees to customers who use them,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his opinion on the case.
You’ve probably seen interchange-fee avoidance in action before. For example, one of my favorite bars in Chicago has a sign posted that says customers who pay in cash will save 3%. In many taxis, swiping a credit card to pay for a ride will generate a message that alerts customers of an additional 50-cent charge for paying with plastic. In New York and nine other states, though, Expressions Hair Design and other merchants aren’t allowed to post this type of messaging that educates customers on the benefits of paying in cash.
And that’s exactly what the case is about: communication. Expressions Hair Design and four other businesses in the lawsuit claim that restricting their ability to post signs about pricing restricts their First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court seems to agree. “In regulating the communication of prices rather than prices themselves, [the law in New York] regulates speech,” Roberts continued in a mile-long opinion letter that gave me a new appreciation for the art of speaking legalese.
So what’s next? More debates. The Supreme Court voted unanimously to return the case to a lower court for further examination. While merchants won’t be able to escape interchange fees, cardholders can avoid paying extra for the ability to pay with plastic. Check out “7 Best No-Annual-Fee Credit Cards for 2017” and “The Top 9 Low-Free Credit Cards for 2017” to find a card that doesn’t come with a hefty price tag. In the meantime, you can find me getting a trim at Expressions Hair Design.
Featured image courtesy of Phil Roeder via Getty Images.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards