Visa, the world’s largest electronic payment network, beat forecasts and reported a fiscal first quarter profit jump of 33 percent, with its growth in debit card payment transactions outpacing credit cards by 72 percent. Visa’s numbers shows that consumers continue to rely more on debit cards and are holding off on reviving credit card revolving debt as the economy continues to struggle.
Nearly a third of U.S. consumers have fallen for “negative option” scams – paying for shipping on a “free trial” or “sample,” and then unwittingly becoming victim to recurring credit card charges, according to Visa. The deceptive marketing practice has become so pervasive that Visa has joined the Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau in warning the public to be vigilant when signing up for an online offer promoting free trials or samples.
Checks totaling more than $1 billion will be mailed this week to more than a half million merchants in the final payouts from Visa and Mastercard stemming from a 2003 lawsuit settlement, said the National Retail Federation. The retailers alleged that Visa and Mastercard violated federal anti-trust law by requiring merchants who accept their credit cards to also accept their signature debit cards.
Restricting fees that retailers have to pay banks for accepting credit cards could benefit consumers “if merchants reduced prices for goods and services,” congressional auditors concluded in a report today. But “identifying such savings would be difficult,” the report by the Government Accountability Office found.