Visa supports government call for consumer agencies to act on excessive surcharging
Australia - Visa said today it would welcome a stronger focus from consumer agencies to limit excessive card surcharges, following the release yesterday of the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council (CCAAC) study into credit card surcharging in Australia.
“We are encouraged by the Federal Government’s referral of the matter to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to take action to address consumer concerns,” said Vipin Kalra, Visa’s Country Manager Australia.
“Excessive surcharging has been an unfair cost on consumers for too long and the time to act is now,” he said. “We believe that enforcement by a consumer agency is needed to reduce the current high levels of surcharging by some merchants.”
Visa’s consistent view is that excessive surcharging is anti-consumer and reduces the migration to efficient, fast and secure electronic payments.
Visa has been working with merchants and financial institutions to reduce excessive surcharging since the Reserve Bank of Australia released new guidelines in March, which limit surcharging to the merchant’s reasonable cost of card acceptance.
However, the CCAAC report acknowledges that enforcement of the current card scheme rules “may be difficult” and “in many cases the actual costs incurred by merchants are not observable to the card schemes”.
According to the report, 43 per cent of consumer survey respondents indicated they often encounter surcharges and fees above 2.5 per cent and some reported paying surcharges of around 33 per cent.
“We look forward to working with the Government as well as consumer agencies as they continue to work towards reducing excessive surcharging in Australia,” concluded Mr. Kalra.
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world’s most advanced processing networks — VisaNet — that is capable of handling more than 30,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit corporate.visa.com.