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New Zealand credit card surcharge could alter customer shopping patterns

A recent survey conducted in New Zealand revealed that approximately 90 percent of customers would stop shopping at their favorite stores if a three percent credit card surcharge was added to their bill.

Fleur Revell, the managing director at Impact PR, said that the survey “sounds a warning” to retailers regarding the implementation of surcharges and failure to notify the customers of the new charge, according to 3 News.

In New Zealand, the Commerce Commission, a comprehensive oversight agency, removed surcharge restrictions on credit cards two years ago after an investigation into anti-competitive agreements revealed that banks were charging retailers to process credit card transactions. Now, retailers have the option of applying surcharges to customer transactions.

The survey further found that 88 percent of the 1,000 polled respondents believed that the retailers that do apply the surcharge do not communicate openly about the fee. Revell said that backlash is inevitable for those retailers who do not disclose the surcharge to customers, 3 News reports.

Retailers Association CEO John Albertson has doubts about the value of the survey, saying that he does not know of any retailers that chose to apply the surcharge. Albertson pointed to retailers charging a check fee to cover the processing cost of a check, a trend that began 20 years ago, saying that the surcharge is “really…no different to that,” 3 News reports.

Banks still charge retailers to process credit card transactions leading Albertson to conclude that customers should not expect retailers to cover the cost of using that payment method.

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