Most consumers believe the benefits retailers receive from card payments outweigh the costs, according to survey results Visa Inc. released today. The findings represent the latest jab in the ongoing sparring match over payment card interchange between the payments industry and retailers. Acquirers pay issuers interchange and recoup the cost as part of the discount rate they charge merchants to accept card payments. Most respondents, 78%, believed the value and benefits retailer get from accepting credit or debit cards outweighs the costs to accept them, while 16% disagreed with that contention, the survey found. Additionally, most respondents, 60%, believed retailers should pay the costs of accepting payment cards, while 31% believed the consumer making the purchase should pay. Sixty-six percent of respondents believe accepting payment cards is a normal cost of doing business, while 27% disagreed. "Consumers aren't buying the message convenience-store chains and big retailers are selling," Bill Sheedy, Visa group president of the Americas, said in a statement. "This research demonstrates that consumers are well aware that legislation is a Trojan horse that likely will lead to higher prices for cardholders while retailers pocket the savings." Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates conducted the telephone survey of 1,000 adults July 20 to 23. Last week, the Electronic Payments Coalition, which represents hundreds of payment industry participants including banks, card issuers and payment networks, released a print ad bashing convenience stores' prices and a Web site and petition opposing proposed legislation that could reduce interchange rates (CardLine, 9/9). U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., introduced legislation earlier this year would require merchants to enter into collective-bargaining agreements with issuers when setting interchange rates (CardLine, 6/10). Retailer 7-Eleven Inc. launched a national petition drive last summer that it says garnered more than 1 million signatures in support of interchange reform (CardLine 7/7).

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