A few months ago, American Express Co. released a report that aimed to discredit the bank card industry. The report, prepared by the Boston Co., an indirectly owned subsidiary of American Express, said that high interest rates on bank credit cards were hampering the economic recovery.

Four weeks later, Bankcard Holders of America, which says it represents the interests of credit card customers, released a report accusing the bank card industry of "loan sharking" and ripping off consumers by "an estimated "8 billion a year."

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