With gasoline prices in the US at record levels, even a small reduction in pricing matters to most consumers and that’s the argument being made by new data released by the Electornic Payments Coalition. According to research by Phoenix Marketing International, they calculate that a $1 billion worth of savings have been realized by the retail gasoline industry, none of which they claim, has been returned to consumers in the form of lower pricing.
The research among 5,166 consumers reporting on recent gas station purchases found that the debit card share of both transactions and dollars was higher than any other payment method. Among households with an income of less than $50,000, debit card share of gas station transactions was twice that of credit cards.
“Whenever Congress meddles in an industry debate over who pays what, consumers never win,” says Trish Wexler, spokeswoman for the Electronic Payments Coalition. “One side gets a leg up and keeps their windfall, while consumers end up footing the bill. No one is surprised to see that gas retailers are keeping billions of dollars for themselves, while their customers continue to be punished at the pump. Americans should go to their gas stations and demand what’s theirs – a discount for debit.”
The lack of consumer activitism directed toward merchant gains stemming from the Durbin Amendment is puzzling. Perhaps there’s only so much room for outrage, which seems to be directed almost solely toward the financial institution segment as the easier target? In the meantime, these information hits will seep through and serve to build a reference library once the war begins again in 2013 when the Fed is scheduled to review the current rate structure.
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