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ACCC Crack Down On Small Business Surcharges

The ACCC have urged small business operators to prepare for the incoming ban on excessive payment surcharges, set to come into effect from Australia from 1 September 2017.

“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.

The new law – which came into effect for larger businesses last year – limits 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.

“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,” Schaper says.

Passing on the cost of processing debit and credit card payments is not mandatory for businesses and the ban has no effect on those that do not impose a payment surcharge.

The ACCC advise that banks are required to send businesses merchant statements which clearly set out the business’ costs of acceptance for each payment method and urge businesses to get in contact with their bank if they have not yet received a statement.

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