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Before The Grand Rethinking: Five Things To Do Today With Payments Law And Ten Principles To Guide New Payments Products And New Payments Law

Not so long ago, consumers were asked if they would like to pay by “cash, check, or credit.” That choice was simple: cash for privacy and immediate payment, a check for the security of not carrying cash and the safety of not-quite immediate payment, and credit for later payment. To-day, a dizzying array of payment methods and a variety of associated legal rules mean that a consumer could take longer making a truly informed decision about how to pay than in selecting the goods or services to be paid for. The appropriate policy response is to broaden certain existing consumer protections to apply to all non-cash payments. This can be done now with a simple set of amendments to several federal payments statutes. Consumers should not have to wait for a broader grand rethinking or harmonization of payments law.1 Harmonization should not even be attempted unless the purpose and result are to harmonize to high standards of consumer protection and the harmonization drafting process can withstand industry pressure.

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