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Australia Bankers’ Association decries proposed surchage fee cap

The Australian Bankers’ Association has declined to support the Australian Reserve Bank’s proposal to cap the size of surcharge fees imposed on credit card customers.

Instead of introducing restrictions into the payments systems, the ABA said it would rather have a system where market forces dominate the fees merchants choose to impose, according to StartUpSmart.com.

In order for the ABA’s suggested system to work, business would have to be transparent at the point of sale regarding payment alternatives and their costs.

“It’s much better for people to be upfront about how they’re charging customers," ABA chief executive Steven Münchenberg said, according to StartUpSmart.com. "It should be clear that the price for using credit cards is different.”

The Reserve Bank is making moves on surcharges as a result of merchants gouging customers with excessive credit card fees. It is considering a cap on surcharge fees and determining whether businesses should disclose their own acceptance fees to customers.

ePAL, the company that develops the EFTPOS system, is calling for better disclosure. ePAL also wants merchants to be given cost information broken down by different card types instead of the current system where merchants get billed a “blended” service fee.

ePAL's competitor Tyro Payments also wants banks to rein in big businesses imposing excessive credit and debit card surcharging on customers.

Airlines, telcos, travel agents, utilities, cabcharge and gas stations have been identified as the worst offenders of imposing excessive surcharges, according to StartUpSmart.com.

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