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Clock ticking on outrageous surcharges

Choice says it's no time to flout rules

19 March 2013

CHOICE says time has run out for excessive credit card surcharges, with the Reserve Bank's new rules limiting surcharges coming into effect today.

The consumer group is putting the spotlight on the worst surcharging offenders to ensure they don't flout the new rules.

"Today we've set the clock ticking with a live counter marking the time it takes Cabcharge, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Tiger to reduce their outrageous credit card fees," says CHOICE Head of Campaigns, Matt Levey.

"Every day that these retailers ignore the Reserve Bank's rules is another day that Australians will spend millions more than they need to simply for using their credit cards."

CHOICE says that while the actual costs of processing credit cards vary between retailers and across different card types, the average merchant service fee for Mastercard and Visa is estimated at 0.86%.

"Today's new rules limit credit card surcharges to the 'reasonable costs' of processing the transaction, and most of that is the merchant service fee," says Mr Levey.

"While these fees vary, they are nowhere near the likes of Cabcharge, with their shonky 10% fee, or Jetstar, with their $17 slug for a return flight."

CHOICE says consumers can check the impact of the new surcharging rules with the live ticker at www.choice.com.au/surchargepain

The consumer group is also calling on Australians to turn up the pressure on the big surcharges by signing up to the Take Charge campaign and send a message to the worst surcharging offenders.

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