To support payments innovation, avoid unnecessary regulation

By John R. Gardner

The rapid growth of new payment system innovation in recent years in many ways mirrors similar growth in the credit card industry in the 1950s and 1960s.  A review of the development of the credit card industry leading up to the significant amendments to the Truth in Lending Act in 1970, and the ultimate effect of the legislation when viewed against the concerns voiced by Congress, arguably demonstrate that the legislation was unnecessary, inefficient and anticompetitive. Accordingly, legislatures and regulators should take a cautious approach to enacting restrictions proposed in the name of consumer protection.  To avoid the mistakes of the past, legislatures and regulators should carefully consider how such measures might limit competition and innovation, whether such measures would truly result in a benefit to consumers, and whether there are any less restrictive measures that would result in equivalent consumer protection.

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