Writing on the wall for sky-high card surcharges

CHOICE says worst offenders should wind back surcharges now

CHOICE has welcomed today’s announcement from the RBA that credit and debit card surcharges will be limited to reflect transaction costs.

The people’s watchdog says the decision recognises that credit card surcharges are out of control, and should not be used as a hidden revenue stream for merchants, such as airlines and taxis.

“CHOICE believes surcharges must be fair, reflecting the genuine costs to merchants, not a cash cow milked by merchants,” says CHOICE head of campaigns, Matt Levey.

“Today’s decision from the RBA will mean no more cream on top of transaction costs for those excessively surcharging, ensuring consumers no longer have to pay extra just for the privilege of paying.”

CHOICE says it will now be crucial that the changes are implemented with adequate policing and penalties, sending a clear message to those merchants with the biggest surcharges.

“The writing is now on the wall, and it’s time for those merchants like QANTAS, with their $7.70 per passenger ‘card payment fee’, to either show how this is a genuine transaction cost or bring it back down to earth,” says Mr Levey.

The RBA’s announcement also highlights the need for genuine alternative payment options, particularly in online transactions, and the need for more transparency on the amount of surcharges collected.

“With the rapid growth of online shopping, we have raised concerns about the fact there is increasingly no easy alternative to credit card payment,” says Mr Levey.

“While we welcome the RBA’s focus on this issue, we believe that needs to translate into action, ensuring there is clear disclosure of surcharges throughout online transactions.”

“CHOICE is also pleased to see there will be an effort to publish at least some more detailed information on the total amount of merchant service fees collected by banks.”

“It’s not the full picture of surcharges that consumers are paying, but it will bring us closer to transparency.”

CHOICE provided a submission to the RBA’s consultation on credit card surcharging, making several recommendations for fairer and more transparent charges.

Media contact:

Matt Levey, CHOICE, Head of Campaigns: 0488 214 066

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