Consumers benefit on the first day of Spring

1 September 2017

THE Liberal-National Coalition continues to deliver for consumers by banning excessive credit card surcharges for all businesses as of today, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack says.

“As the Minister responsible for Consumer Affairs I am thrilled the Coalition has implemented a healthy dose of consumer common sense on the first day of spring,” Mr McCormack said.

“For far too long some businesses have been charging consumers a surcharge in excess of what the transaction actually costs to process and today that practice stops across the board.”

Mr McCormack said the measure has applied to large businesses since 1 September 2016 and has been implemented across the economy effective today.

“With businesses both big and small transitioning in ever increasing numbers to digital payment platforms as solutions become simpler, it is a shared positive outcome of fair competition among businesses and consumers getting a fair deal,” Mr McCormack said.

“With only 37 per cent of transactions paid in cash in 2016, if businesses are charging more than they should for the processing of credit card payments, the cost stacks up very quickly for consumers.

“Similarly, it does not make sense that ethical enterprises are effectively penalised when a neighbouring business is swelling their profits under the proviso of ‘transaction fees’.

“So the Government put a stop to it.”  

If businesses choose to impose charges for EFTPOS transactions it must be restricted to the cost of accepting the payment, which in most cases is below three per cent. To simplify the calculation for business, banks are required to provide statements outlining the cost of each transaction.

“If consumers find businesses in breach of the rules, I encourage them to contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which is the responsible agency for enforcing the rules,” Mr McCormack said. 

“In the first instance I welcome the ACCC educating non-compliant businesses, but I will not tolerate businesses flaunting the rules deliberately.

“The Liberal-National Coalition continues to get on with the job delivering fair competition and real outcomes for Australian families.”

Further guidance for businesses and consumers is available at: www.accc.gov.au.

Dom Hopkinson