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SAN FRANCISCO – An “in-store” study sponsored by Visa USA has attempted to calculate the amount of time lost standing in retail lines because some customers write checks rather than use their credit or debit cards. The study, conducted at selected locations of one of the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chains, revealed the average time to process a payment using a signature-based debit card was 26.1 seconds, while credit transactions averaged 30.2 seconds, both significantly less than the 75.2 seconds it took to process a check payment, the number one card brand said. Consumers’ desire for the speed and ease of using electronic payments was supported by the data, with debit, credit and check users all citing convenience as the leading factor in determining payment choice. Yet, nearly half of all check writers interviewed during the in-store study incorrectly believed that checks are the fastest payment method. “While the number of check writers is dwindling, they continue to take a big chunk of time at the check-out line,” said Mark Traylor, Ph.D., director of quantitative services, National Market Measures. “This study supports other evidence that debit and credit transactions are faster payment methods – nearly three times faster than checks. Consumers choose how to pay at check-out based on their view of convenience, but many of them – especially check writers – hold misconceptions about which payment method is actually the fastest. Check writers think their method of payment is fast, but they’re wrong.”

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