ACCC issues payment surcharge warning for small businesses

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As of September 1 this year, the ACCC will impose a ban on excessive payment surcharges for small businesses in Australia.

Large businesses were hit with the ban last year. However, the new law for small businesses will limit the amount they can charge customers for use of various payment methods including EFTPOS, MasterCard, Visa and American Express.

“Small businesses that choose to impose payment surcharges should review their surcharge levels to ensure they are complaint 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.”

To ensure small businesses are calculating their surcharges correctly, the ACCC has produced a factsheet, and banks will be sending out information soon.

“Banks are required to send businesses merchant statements that clearly set out the business’ costs of acceptance for each payment method,” Dr Schaper said.

“The ACCC urges businesses to follow up with their bank if they have not yet received these statements.

“In the lead-up to last year’s excessive surcharging ban on large businesses, many reviewed and amended their surcharging practices to reflect the costs to the business, and we hope small businesses will do the same.”

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