Revolution, the private investment company which Case launched in 2005 with $500 million of his AOL fortune, is the largest shareholder in GratisCard, which is based in St. Petersburg, Fla. GratisCard will be formally launched in April.
Case’s GratisCard aims to loosen the grip of Visa, Mastercard (MA), and their bank partners, on the payment industry. Retailers complain the card giants charge them high fees—known as interchange fees—when their cards are used in stores. In 2005, Visa and Mastercard generated $25.1 billion in fees on more than $1.1 trillion in credit card purchases, an average of 2.2% per transaction, according to The Nilson Report, a payment industry trade publication. Visa and Mastercard debit cards charged fees at a rate of 1.75%.
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