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Members of the payments industry continue to weigh in on 7-Eleven Inc.'s consumer-petition drive calling for legislation to curb interchange (CardLine, 7/6, 7/7). In a statement issued to CardLine this week, Visa Inc. officials called 7-Eleven's campaign to gather more than 1 million signatures by Aug. 10 "puzzling and misleading" and harmful to consumers. "The fact is, like all retailers, 7-Eleven can exercise numerous point-of-sale options related to accepting payments, including offering discounts for cash or PIN debit, acceptance of only cash or checks, or steering customers to other forms of payment. They can also negotiate their acceptance costs or offer private-label payment cards," Visa says. "7-Eleven has chosen to ignore these facts and instead is asking consumers to sign a petition that would ultimately shift 7-Eleven's costs of doing business onto consumers while 7-Eleven enjoys all the benefits of accepting electronic payments." Revenues of U.S. credit card issuers already are dropping as they prepare for compliance with the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 while they also cope with average card charge-offs of 10.44% of receivables, notes Bill Shaw, group vice president of the credit card division at First Citizens Bank, based in Roanoke, Va. "Very few are soliciting new accounts at this point," Shaw tells CardLine. "These factors are certainly reducing cardholders' abilities to buy from the 7-Elevens of the world and other retailers. If the interchange fight goes [merchants'] way, there will most certainly be more banks reducing their customers' abilities to buy."

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