Photo via Photomarketing

Supermarkets will are going to be required to be more upfront about how their prices are displayed starting in February. Namely in distinguishing differences in prices when products are paid for in cash versus being purchased with a credit card over payments.

Official estimates indicate that prices will, in fact, go down when purchases are made in a single payment. Production Minister Francisco Cabrera stated that the Government will open Argentina up to more imports in order to “encourage competition” as part of the transparency plan, which instead of resulting in a cooling down of consumption — should in theory have the reverse effect as “payments and prices will probably go down.”

However, not everyone agrees.

Héctor Polino — head of Free Consumers — believes that the biggest problems consumers are set to face are discrepancies in accurate pricing and rampant fuel-price increases along with outdated credit card laws. Polino believes it is time the Government steps in to impose further regulations, or else consumers will continue to the bare the real cost of loose and fluctuating pricing.

“There is no doubt that prices were inflated, so it seems positive that there is a lower price for the cash payment. But nothing is going to happen if the Government does not then control brands and price-generating chains,” stated Polino.

Matías Doublier, founder of the company Increase, also shares Polino’s line of thinking: “The coefficient, which is charged when paying by card and is linked to the payment instalments, does impact prices because it is a huge amount of money. However, it is unlikely that prices will fall as a result of the new regulations.”

Let’s break this down a little…

Prices: – Polino believes that regulations on pricing are currently not stringent enough: “The Government should get a hold on the scheme for all cash prices. Most items aren’t found on the shelves in supermarkets.”

Gas: – According to the head of Free Consumers, the price of fuel accounts for more than 30% of the cost of the products in a basic shopping basket. “The Government can no longer authorize increased fuel prices as it has been doing. Elsewhere in the world the price is going down and here it doesn’t stop going up, it’s absurd.”

In a further shocking statistic, Polino continued: “It is more expensive to move goods from the north of the country to the port of Rosario than from Rosario to a port in Amsterdam.”

Credit Cards:  Although regulation specifies that there should be no difference between the price of an item whether paying by card or cash, most stores establish a 5% to 10% difference depending on mode of payment.

The “cash price is not synonymous with cash, it is synonymous with a payment. The lower price has to also apply for payment by card.”