Consumers Doubt They’ll See Benefit Of Lower Interchange Fees

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WASHINGTON – Consumers doubt they will benefit from lower debit fees, according to a recent survey, even as the Federal Reserve is poised to direct lower interchange charged merchants by credit unions and banks.

The survey by Javelin Strategy and Research found 66% of 4,998 consumers polled agreed that, “Merchants will do nothing – prices will remain the same.”

A minority, 13% agreed that “merchants will lower prices overall,” and 12% expected merchants to lower prices for debit card transactions. Another 9% said they expected merchants would lower fees for some transactions.

The survey, “Payments Regulation and Consumer Expectations: How To Best Manage the Changes Ahead,” was conducted last September, before the Fed issued its proposed rule spurring the massive controversy that this week resulted in proposed legislation to delay the Fed’s rule.

About 60% of respondents said any monthly debit fee would make them change to another form of payment. Fifteen percent said they’d change payment forms even if the monthly debit fee were as low as $2 or less per month. Another 15% would change payment forms when hit with fees of $2 to $5, and 6% said they would change if fees were $5 to $10. Only 3% wouldn’t change until monthly fees exceeded $10.


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