[IMGCAP(1)]

Most consumers who signed a petition circulated by 7-Eleven Inc. last summer to gather support for legislation to lower interchange fees were misled, MasterCard Worldwide announced today. A survey conducted by MasterCard revealed some 80%
of consumers who signed the petition "mistakenly believed" that consumers would directly benefit from a reduction of those fees, MasterCard said. Interchange fees are part of the discount rate merchants pay acquirers to accept payment cards. Retailer 7-Eleven last July launched a national petition drive that it says garnered 1.6 million signatures in support of interchange reform (CardLine, 7/6). 7-Eleven executives on Wednesday plan to deliver some 15,000 petition booklets to lawmakers in Washington, D.C. as part of a renewed push for interchange-rate reform, which merchants say costs them $48 billion annually. Legislation U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., proposed earlier this year would require merchants to enter into collective-bargaining agreements with issuers when setting interchange rates (CardLine, 6/10). MasterCard said its survey shows that while many consumers surveyed initially said they would support legislation to regulate merchant fees, some 75% said they would oppose such legislation once it was explained that it could cost them more through higher fees to use their payment cards, MasterCard says. Some 73% of consumers surveyed agreed that "the cost of accepting credit card payments" is a business cost merchants should bear, while 71% agreed that it would not be fair for consumers to pay the merchants' cost of operating a credit card system. KRC Research, on behalf of MasterCard, conducted an online survey of 1,002 U.S. adults in August and a telephone survey of 1,001 U.S. adults this month. In a conference call today, Chris McWilton, MasterCard's president of U.S. Markets, said merchants are "building on anti-bank sentiment" to push for interchange reform which could result in savings merchants will likely pocket instead of passing on to consumers.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry