Regulators of Australia's credit card payment system say it is not clear whether more competition or direct regulation would help cut fees, according to Malcolm Edey, an assistant governor with the Reserve Bank of Australia.

"We believe there has been good progress in promoting competition over recent years," Edey said Sunday during a speech.

"But it's not yet clear whether that will be sufficient," Edey said. He made no comments about monetary policy or the economy.

Australia has imposed credit card regulations, including lower interchange fees, that have been discussed in the United States in the past year.

"We'd prefer to see fees being held down by competition than by direct regulation," Edey said at the Cards & Payments Australasia 2010 Conference in Sydney.

The Payments System Board of the Reserve Bank is assessing the effectiveness of measures to keep fees from rising, including increased competition from alternative payment methods and card companies agreeing not to raise interchange fees, Edey said.

If that approach fails, the board may move to reduce the maximum credit card interchange fee to 30 basis points from 50, he said.

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