Costs down, profits up
With excessive credit card surcharging still rampant, the worst offenders have now been revealed: 40% of big merchants with a turnover of over $725 million are imposing card surcharges of 1.5-2% per transaction, even though the vast majority of them only pay merchant service fees (MSF) of 1.5% or lower.
According to East & Partners, big companies not only tend to charge higher fees, but also charge them more often. Over 72% of big companies are adding a surcharge to their transactions – more than double the percentage of small companies doing the same.
Big companies tend to pay smaller MSF than small companies. And only 13% of smaller merchants with a turnover of less than $5 million charge credit card fees of 1.5-2%, even though nearly 90% of them pay MSF of 1.5% and more.
But there has been one benefit from the RBA reforms: the average MSF for all credit cards dropped from 1.62% in 2010 to 0.95% at the end of 2014.
Average surcharges also decreased from 2.6% to 1.6%.
However, in some industries, such as airlines, high surcharges are still the norm.
Time for action
Last month the RBA – just in time for the two-year anniversary of a ban on excessive surcharges – proposed a 'cap' on surcharges posed by merchants.
However, CHOICE thinks it's time to stop proposing and take action. A ban on excessive surcharges can best be enforced by a body that has sufficient regulatory powers, and that can issue significant penalties for non-compliance.
Read more on credit cards.