Changes for surcharges

19 July, 2017

The ACCC is urging small business owners to start preparing for the ban on excessive payment surcharges that will apply to all businesses across Australia from September 1.

The new law limits the amount a business can charge customers for use of payment methods such as EFTPOS, Mastercard, Visa and American Express cards issued by Australian banks.

It came into effect for large businesses last year.

A surcharge will be considered excessive where it exceeds the permitted cost of acceptance, as defined by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

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.

“Small businesses that choose to impose payment surcharges should review their surcharge levels to ensure they are compliant when the ban starts applying to them in under two months,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.

“Businesses can only pass on to customers what it costs them to process a payment such as bank fees and terminal costs.

“For example, if your cost of acceptance for Visa Credit is one per cent you can only surcharge one per cent on Visa credit card payments onto your customers.”

Small businesses will shortly be receiving information from their bank, which will help them calculate appropriate surcharges when accepting debit and credit cards.

The ACCC has also published a fact sheet so business owners can better understand their obligations.

The ACCC has published guidance material for consumers and businesses.

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