Introduction; Part I. The Basics of Payment Cards: 1. Paper or plastic? - payment system functionality; 2. The mechanics of payment card transactions; Part II. Easy Money: 3. In defense of credit cards; 4. The psychology of card payments - card spending and consumer debt; 5. Over the brink - credit card debt and bankruptcy; Part III. The Puzzle of Payment Cards: 6. Explaining the pattern of global card use; 7. The introduction of the payment card; 8. Revolving credit; 9. Point-of-sale debit; 10. Convergence and exceptionalism in the use of cards; Part IV. Reforming Payment Systems: 11. Indirect approaches: regulating interchange and encouraging surcharges; 12. Contract design; 13. Regulating information; 14. Product design: affinity and rewards programs and teaser rates; Part V. Optimizing Consumer Credit Markets and Bankruptcy Policy: 15. Causation, consumer credit and bankruptcy; 16. Regulating consumer credit markets; 17. Consumer bankruptcy reform; Conclusion; Endnotes; Bibliography; Index.
Ronald A. Mann received his J.D. from the University of Texas where he graduated first in his class and was the managing editor of the Texas Law Review. After graduation, he clerked for judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. After three years in private practice, he worked for the Justice Department for four years as an Assistant to the Solicitor General. Before joining the Texas faculty in 2003, he taught for six years at the University of Michigan and for three years at Washington University in St. Louis.
Mann offers a fresh, new perspective on credit cards. In a book that is deeply researched and based on careful analysis of previously-unpublished data, he compares the risks of plastic with other forms of payment to arrive at startling conclusions about the effect of credit cards on the American consumer. Mann's comparative data reach across Europe, North America and Asia, offering different visions of how payment systems may evolve. This is a must-read book for anyone who wants to understand the evolving world of consumer credit. Elizabeth Warren, Leo Gottlieb Professor of law, Harvard Law School This fascinating book delivers a rigorous and illuminating appraisal of the role played by credit and debit cards in the commercial life of the USA and other developed economies. Building on an impressive array of statistical data, Mann develops a balanced and objective assessment of the relationships between credit card spending, and card-related debt, and overall levels of consumer debt and bankruptcy within society. This ground-breaking comparative study will be an essential point of reference for all who seek to understand the latter-day phenomenon of the 'plastic revolution,' and to evaluate its associated benefits and costs. Professor Ian F. Fletcher, Herbert Smith Chair of International Commercial Law, University College London This excellent monograph covers a lot of ground and provides the reader with a lucid description and powerful analysis of the development of credit and debit cards in North America and overseas, their interaction with merchants and consumers, the negative features of contemporary credit card issuers' practices, and the externalities created by unregulated credit card contracts. What distinguishes Charging Ahead from the other voluminous literature in the area is the scientific rigour brought to bear by the author through the use of statistical data to illuminate or contradict an argument and the avoidance of anecdotal stories which, while sometimes illuminating or amusing, have little scientific validity. Equally impressive is Professor Mann's intellectual honesty and his willingness to accept the conclusions derived from his economic and legal analysis of cutting edge issues even when they are at variance with his free market instincts. The book should do much to dispel some common myths and to reinforce the arguments of those stressing the need to counteract the excesses of credit card issuers." Jacob Ziegel, Professor of Law Emeritus, University of Toronto "T]he textbook of choice for students and industry professionals studying the expanding electronic payments market." Cardline "Highly recommend[ed]...It educates and illuminates about the payment card industry in ways that haven't been so well explained before. And, by chewing on the key issues and proposing tentative conclusions, Mann helps you gain perspective about the strengths and weaknesses of the industry today." Payments News "Mann gives us tremendous insight (empirically and otherwise) into... the payment card love triangle." Payments Intelligence