Checks vs credit cards

Checks now clear within a matter of hours and can be accepted electronically. They are getting to the point of being electronic money. Credit cards take days to clear through a merchant account, and are expensive to process (1.5-3%).

Beyond the weak consumer protections, what exactly is the advantage of credit cards anymore?

Consumers can easily get money at much lower interest rates from a variety of sources. eTrade, for example, has a new account that you can balance transfer from a credit card every single month and is at 9% instead of 12%-30%.

For merchants, it seems like a real negative to have to pay the ridiculous percentage for processing. Walmart is even trying to become a bank to get around the processing fees, and I imagine their percentage is already very low.