Consumer Payment Card News

Merchant Fees

While merchants promise they’ll lower prices if credit card interchange fees are reduced, consumers are not buying it. A new study has found that 56% of Americans believe merchants would do nothing and that prices would remain the same if card fees were lowered. The report by Javelin Strategy & Research found that two-thirds of consumers over 55 are skeptical about the impact on lower interchange fees. In fact, only 19% of Americans believe that merchants would actually lower prices overall. The study also concludes that large merchants looking for sympathy from consumers regarding interchange will not receive it, and efforts to make interchange a consumer issue using large merchants are fruitless. The fight for the hearts and minds of consumers rests with portraying smaller, locally owned businesses as victims. Large merchants and merchant organizations who represent them are attempting to politicize the issue by indicating that interchange is a “hidden tax” that consumers actually pay. As long as large merchants lead this fight, it is an ineffective strategy. Two-thirds of consumers state that they know that there are fees charged to merchants for each card transaction, and an overwhelming 84% believe it affects the prices that merchants charge for goods and services. But few consumers are willing to change their choice of payment method at large chain retailers because of this issue. Only 23% would use “the cheapest method for the merchant” at a large chain retailer.

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