Small businesses ‘screwed’

visa, mastercard, credit card, amexSmall businesses are getting “screwed over” at the till by big credit card companies, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) says.

The ARA is calling for a Federal Government crackdown on “excessive” credit card surcharge fees, and executive director, Russell Zimmerman, says unregulated companies like Amex and Diners Club are the main culprits.

He says because Amex and Diners Club have 55 per cent and 23 per cent market reach respectively, retailers feel they need to accept them to ease transactions for customers.

“Retailers either have to absorb the excessive merchant cost or pass on a surcharge to consumers,” he said.

The ARA is demanding Canberra intervene to bring all credit card companies under the same rules as the two big card systems, Visa and Mastercard.

Zimmerman said service fees on purchases made with regulated cards like Visa and Mastercard are around 0.79 per cent of the value of the transaction, while unregulated schemes like Amex and Diners Club incur a surcharge of around 2.75 per cent.

“It is time to address this imbalance and create a level playing field for all payment systems,” Zimmerman said.

The ARA met with the new assistant treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, on Tuesday to demand industry reform.

Zimmerman was tight lipped on the outcome of the meeting, but said Frydenberg agreed with him on most points.

Comment has been sought from the Assistant Treasurer’s office.



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