Consumer Payment Card News

Debit Battle

The National Retail Federation, Food Marketing Institute, International Mass Retailers Association have teamed to issue an appeal to consumers to stop using debit cards like credit cards. The retailers say consumers should be careful when they use debit cards so that they don’t get “fooled” into making a choice that ends up adding, what is, in effect a “hidden tax of roughly two percent on every purchase.” The appeal did not address the fees that cardholders may incur from making a PIN transaction. The retailers described the “debit card deception” as follows: “If a consumer chooses debit and punches in their secret PIN for a $100 purchase, the transaction costs merchants about 15 cents. But if a consumer signs a debit receipt instead, the transaction fee soars to more than $1.50. And that signature debit transaction is much slower and much more prone to fraud.” The retailers say the their lawsuit against VISA and MasterCard, slated for trial in April, will not end up pulling debit cards out of the hands of consumers but it will give merchants and consumers the “proper choice” to use on-line PIN debit.

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