Visa says it has reduced fees it charges merchants on some credit and debit card transactions, but the Food Marketing Institute says other fees have risen and the burden on retailers is growing as more and more customers use plastic instead of cash to pay for purchases. "In any market-based system, the price should fall as the volume rises," said the FMI's Jennifer Hatcher. One Amherst, N.Y. merchant said, "Banks encourage customers to use the cards for the rewards but those rewards don't come back to us in any way," but a Visa official said the reward programs drive customers to spend more.

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