The furor over debit card fees left many consumers with the impression that regulation of debit card interchange flowing from the Durbin amendment actually helped, not hurt, bank debit card issuers, according to a recent study.
The study, “Evolution in Consumer Payments Behavior,” published by Javelin Strategy and Research found that 70% of consumers survey reported they thought the interchange regulation would benefit banks while only 30% thought the new rules would benefit merchants.
The firm cited the way large banks had handled the issue, adding fees to debit cards, for the perception along with their inability to frame the issue for consumers.
“In the events surrounding the implementation of the Durbin Amendment, banks lost any potential PR advantage by implementing actions that seemed punitive to consumers, failed to educate, and failed to provide detailed information needed for accurate understanding and decision-making, the firm said.
It also documented other consumer attitudes of interest to credit unions and debit card issuers, including that far more debit users will simply start using cash more or change banks, rather than use more credit cards, if debit card fees rose too much.
It also found that cash was steadily becoming the medium of exchange for lower-income consumers and those without banking relationships.
Roughly 72% of consumers without banking relationships surveyed said they most frequently use cash for any sort of purchase while 66% of consumers with a banking relationship have at least a debit card (67% have a credit card.)