Commission rates on PayPoint and other electronic bill payment services must be increased according to the bosses of the three largest symbol groups, representing more than 6,000 stores.
A call for concerted action from c-store retailers came from Jerry Marwood, md of the largest symbol group Spar UK.
Marwood said levels of commission were so low it was costing retailers money to provide the services for their customers, and that in the long term commission levels were not sustainable. He said attempts to discuss the problem with the terminal supplier PayPoint, and with the utilities themselves, had proved fruitless. "We talked to PayPoint, and they were not interested, so we talked to the utility companies but they didn't want to know either.
"Retailers are being used, and unless they come together, they will continue to be used."
Colin Graves, chairman and chief executive of Costcutter, said: "I would be happy to sit down with Jerry Marwood and Londis chief executive Graham White to lobby PayPoint as a body for better terms. We are providing an important service and should be paid a reasonable rate for doing it."
Ross Halliday, trading director of Londis, said: "Anything that can be done that would put pressure on to raise margins we would support."
A spokesman for PayPoint conceded commission on some items was 0.5% and capped at 13p per transaction, but he said it was growing higher commission business such as e-top-ups.
He said greater impulse sales, generated by extra footfall, meant PayPoint more than paid for itself.