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Credit

Life Lesson or Momentary Pause?

Has the turmoil witnessed during this recession really taught consumers a long-lasting fiscal lesson?

According to BIGresearch, a whopping 37.0% of consumers in June admit they haven’t saved any of their income in the past 12 months, while one in five (22.0%) discloses saving more than 10%. At the very least, younger generations appear to be vigilant about feeding their piggy banks...three in five of those 18-24 (58.5%) plan to save “more” than they did last year, compared to just one in four 45-54 year olds (27.6%).

One potential reason for the lack of savings is the decline in consumer debt. Americans are paying off their cards. Credit card debt has actually declined by double digits in the past three months.

Three Major Headaches For Small Biz Owners

Mention the words Visa, Mastercard, and American Express to a small business owner at your own risk. To say that credit card companies and interchange fees are unpopular is a bit of an understatement.

According to NACS a convenience and petroleum retailing group, credit card fees cost U.S. convenience stores $8.4 billion, compared with $5.2 billion in store profits in 2008.

NACS recently held a news conference in Florida to call attention to the reintroduction of the Credit Card Fair Fee Act in Congress. The group supports the bill because it would give small businesses more negotiating power with banks that issue credit cards over interchange fees.

In addition to a legislative solution, another glimmer of hope for small biz rests with Revolution Money. Founded by Steve Case, Revolution Money is an alternative payments company that seeks to change the way people pay by providing secure, easy and flexible payment solutions. Founded in 2005, they are challenging the traditional payments industry model by offering a low-cost debit based payment card network.

I’m not big on legislative solutions to business issues, but something clearly needs to be done. Here’s hoping that Case’s group puts some heat on Visa, Amex and Mastercard and small business owners catch a much needed break.