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LAS VEGAS – Financial institutions should be wary of the credit card industry getting in the way of its primary financial institution relationships. “The banking industry is under attack. Credit card companies understand the interplay between merchant fees and rewards used to drive consumers to transact on their credit cards instead of their checking accounts,” Howard Mason, a securities analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein told attendees of BAI’s Retail Delivery & Expo. Mason said financial institutions have to make their checking accounts more attractive so financials keep this critical relationship with consumers. He said credit card issuers are trying to position their cards between consumers’ accounts and purchase activity. He said the card companies offer rewards and convenient consolidated reporting. Mason said financials must offer online banking and electronic bill payment that allows them to pay bills electronically out of their brokerage account, their card credit line or their checking account – giving the consumer flexibility that the cards can’t match.

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