Consumer payment mechanisms—credit cards, debit cards, checks, wire transfers, automated clearinghouse payments, stored value cards, and person-to-person payments like PayPal, among others—are subject to a wide variation as to user rights. These rights derive from federal law, state law, private-sector arrangements (system rules) and contracts. Each separate set of rules may be coherent in itself, but they evolved largely independently of each other, and payments law—the aggregate of all such bodies of law—is suffering from systemic cognitive dissonance as a result.
The program will summarize the wide variations in the treatment of the rights and obligations of the parties to payments transactions of the various types. It will also describe recent attempts to harmonize them and the forces that are pressing for both harmonization and continued disharmony.