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ACCC bans excessive payment fees

POS, credit card, payment, shopperLarge businesses will not be able to charge customers excessive fees for payment methods, including the use of credit cards, after the ACCC’s ban commences today.

Large companies will only be able to charge the actual cost of bank fees or terminal charges which a payment requires rather than flat fees such as those at some ticketing companies and flight bookers, said Rod Simms, ACCC chairman.

The consumer watchdog says rules apply to large businesses for the first year and will apply to all businesses in September 2017 but will only apply to payment surcharges not other charges such as booking fees.

The new law will limit the amount that a business can charge customers for use of payment methods such as Eftpos (debit and prepaid), MasterCard (credit, debit and prepaid), Visa (credit, debit and prepaid) and American Express cards issued by Australian banks.

Those payment types that are not covered by the ban include: BPAY, PayPal, Diners Club cards, American Express cards issued directly by American Express, cash and cheques.

“The new law has caused many large businesses to review their pricing practices,” said Sims. “We expect to see a move from flat-fee surcharges for purchasing items like flights, towards percentage-based or capped surcharges.

The RBA has indicated, as a guide, that the costs to merchants of accepting payments by debit cards is in the order of 0.5 per cent, by credit card is 1-1.5 per cent and for American Express cards it is 2-3 per cent.

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