In 2016, the Government introduced changes to the way credit and debit card transactions are processed in Australia, banning excessive payment surcharges.
The ban restricts the amount a business can charge customers for using EFTPOS, MasterCard, Visa and American Express cards issued by Australian banks.
The ban applies to all businesses, regardless of their size.
Along with the ban, came new powers for the ACCC who is responsible for enforcing the ban. Think it won’t happen to you? Think again. The ACCC has taken this responsibility seriously, with a number of actions taken against businesses already, some within the travel industry.
Europcar has been ordered to pay $350,00 in penalties for excessive surcharges on Visa and MasterCard debit cards. The amount of each excessive surcharge was relatively small, at an average of just over $1 per customer.
Cruisin Motorhomes was ordered to pay a penalty of $12,600 after charging Visa and MasterCard customers a 2% surcharge, despite the cost of processing the payment ranging from 0.41 to 1.48 per cent.
Red Balloon paid penalties totalling $43,200 for charging just four consumers excessive payment surcharges.
Any surcharge you apply is limited to the amount it costs the business to accept that type of card for that transaction. Each business will have a different cost of acceptance. To understand what is acceptable and how to determine your cost of acceptance see the AFTA guide below. The guide also explains that blending a rate is also unacceptable and a business may only apply a flat rate if it is the lowest of all payment methods.
The RBA indicated as a guide that the costs to merchants of accepting payment by debit cards is in the order of 0.5 per cent, by credit card 1 – 1.5 per cent and for American Express cards around 2 -3 per cent. Are your rates in line with this?
Contact Naomi Menon – Head of Compliance and Operations, AFTA at firstname.lastname@example.org.