Bank card executives expect credit and debit cards to increase their share of consumer payments by more than two-thirds, at the expense of cash and checks, by the year 2000.

In a survey to be released today by Visa U.S.A. at the American Bankers Association national bank card conference, bankers said the credit card share of payments would rise to 16% of total value, from 12%. Debit cards are seen growing to 6%, from less than 1%.

Checks would fall to 51% from 57%, and cash to 19% from 21%, according to the executives from 61 banks who were surveyed for Visa by Andersen Consulting. Those banks hold most outstanding card loans.

Anne Kortlander, vice president of credit products management at Visa U.S.A., said optimism was the most striking feature of the responses. "They were all very enthusiastic about the future of the bank card business," she said. But they anticipate pressure on profits.

Margins Expected to Shrink

The industry leaders predicted pretax profit margins on credit cards to decline to 3% from 3.5%. as competition forces interest rates lower. But they saw a partial offset from increased fees. They estimated cards would bring an average of 28% of their banks' profits in the year 2000, about the same as in 1991.

The bankers ranked credit risk as the most important factor in profitability, ahead of pricing, cost management, and service.

They predicted credit card outstandings would grow 13% annually--or about twice as fast as consumer debt in general--reflecting greater household penetration, higher average balances, and more types of merchants accepting the cards.

Bankers said their card promotions would continue to target baby boomers, especially those on the upper and lower ends of the income scale. Gold cards were seen as the most important product.

The Discover Card, offered by Dean Witter, Discover & Co., was perceived as the strongest competitive threat, with American Express Co.'s Optima Card also seen increasing in importance.

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