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Economic Perspectives, Vol. 11, No. 2, March 1987
Costs and competition in bank credit cards
Last year consumers said "Charge it" with Visa or MasterCard 76 times every second, 4,500 times every minute, and nearly 275,000 times every hour of every day. Credit cards, especially bank cards, are being used more frequently both as a method of payment and as a way of taking on consumer debt. There are more than three times as many purchases made with a bank card today than there were ten years ago, and the number of transactions per account is up from 18 per year in 1975 to 23 per year in 1985. Over 2 million merchants accept MasterCard, Visa, or both and about 3,000 institutions issue the cards.
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