A payment-card industry insider challenged industry leaders to a frank discussion of what is unethical and maybe criminal in the internecine banking industry that manages payment cards and transactions.

Heartland CEO Bob Carr spoke at the Strategic Leadership Forum of the Electronic Transactions Association calling out criminal and misleading industry practices, particularly falsifying interchange, deliberately misrepresenting merchant category classification codes, and using “extortion and intimidation tactics” to boost merchant retention.

In an open letter carried in Vizant Insight, a newsletter of CBA service provider Vizant, Carr called for government regulation if the practices don’t change. He said it would be necessary because the industry may be incapable of telling merchants the truth, of providing understandable merchant statements and contracts, and of abandoning “bait and switch” tactics.

Read the entire open letter.

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