By Jill Jaracz


5 Min. To Read

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Identity theft. Credit card fraud. Hackers stealing thousands of credit card numbers. While the news headlines may be full of stories like these that seem to indicate the overwhelming presence of problems with the credit card industry, a new poll released this week indicates that even with the bad news, Americans still have a sunny outlook about credit and debit card payment networks.

The American Bankers Association commissioned Ipsos Public Affairs to poll over 1,000 adults to find their opinions on payment networks and whether they found them to be efficient, secure and trustworthy. For the most part, the survey results showed that a large majority of respondents felt that card networks were doing a good job.

In terms of efficiency, almost three-quarters of those polled said that credit and debit card transactions were quick and seamless, with 73 percent agreeing with that statement. In terms of issues when trying to use a credit card, 92 percent said that they either occasionally or never encountered problems with having a card processed when checking out at a register.

While numbers dipped for the level of trust that consumers have about the current payment system, 65 percent still responded that they do trust the system currently in place.

Still more interesting is that in light of many high-level breaches and reports of identity theft, 80 percent of respondents felt that credit card companies have some measure of protection when it comes to safeguarding customers' personal and financial information.

The card industry does make efforts to mitigate fraud, and consumers have noticed the effort. Of the 31 percent of adults who report being a victim of credit card fraud, 94 percent say that card companies did reimburse them for their losses, either in part or in full.

The poll also took respondents' opinion on the possibility of a new payment system, with companies like Google, Apple or Wal-Mart being able to issue their own credit cards and having their own payment system without having to partner with a financial institution in order to do so. The respondents were asked to imagine what that system would be like and whether or not they thought it would work in the same manner as the current system, using the metrics that they had already been polled about.

Poll participants weren't quite as optimistic about the concept of a new payments system in comparison with the system that already exists, as shown through the large drop in the results. While the responses hovered around 50 percent, they were still double-digits behind their counterpart questions. Only 55 percent of respondents felt that this new payment system would have seamless and efficient transactions. Less than half (48 percent) felt this system would have their best interests in mind in terms of security and privacy protection. The worst metric was trustworthiness, as only 43 percent would trust this sort of system, compared to 80 percent who trust the current system.

If a new system like this was implemented, poll respondents were adamant that it be regulated. Seventy-six percent felt that the companies involved should have to answer to oversight bodies for issues such as cyber security, privacy and operational concerns. Another 70 percent answered that companies with new payment system networks should not be treated any differently than credit card companies are, meaning that they should also be subject to government oversight and rules in order to maintain a system of payments that has integrity and is secure, while maintaining a factor of convenience.

The Ipsos poll was conducted from February 28 to March 4, 2013 and surveyed a national sample of 1,009 adults aged 18 and over. The margin of error of the poll is +/- three percentage points.

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