Clock ticking on outrageous credit card surchargers

CHOICE says it’s no time to flout Reserve Bank rules

Take Charge Campaign Image

CHOICE says time has run out for excessive credit card surcharges, with the Reserve Bank’s new rules limiting surcharges now in effect.

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 their live ticker. 

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.

The campaigning site is also running a petition focussed on the Jetstar $8.50 gouge. It’s great that others are taking action on this important issue, however the campaign seeks to abolish surcharges altogether. The RBA ruling is that surcharges should correspond to the fees charged by Visa and Mastercard. If they go altogether it is possible that buyers who pay cash will subsidise card users, which we don’t support.

The campaign also says the new surcharging changes are voluntary. They’re not – it’s a rule change from the RBA which allows Visa and Mastercard to take action.