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PURCHASE, N.Y. – With a little more than two weeks remaining before its signature debit cards are banned from Wal-Mart stores, MasterCard has fired back. A survey the card brand commissioned with the Harris opinion research firm found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents say their feelings toward a store would be “negatively impacted” if a merchant stopped accepting debit cards About half (51%) indicate they “would consider walking out of a store without making a purchase” if their debit cards were not accepted, the association said. “Consumers feel very strongly about having the debit payment option available to them when making purchases,” said Fred P. Gore, Senior Vice President of North America Acceptance for MasterCard. “If consumers are denied the opportunity to use their debit cards as they see fit, either by entering a PIN or signing a receipt, merchants might very well lose sales or see consumers use an alternate, more expensive, form of payment, such as checks.” The association and the retail giant have been in negotiations over interchange rates since mid 2003. VISA and Wal-Mart have reportedly already come to an agreement about the interchange rate it will pay on the transactions in which a consumer signs the receipt. -

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