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New Zealand’s Commerce Commission launches credit card surcharge survey

Kim Campbell

New Zealand’s Commerce Commission started surveying more than 3,000 businesses this week to determine if credit card surcharges resulted in lower prices for consumers.

The surveys are meant to evaluate the impact of an agreement the commission made with Visa and MasterCard three years ago that allowed retailers to charge extra on credit card payments, NZHerald.co.nz reports.

Prior to the deal, retailers incurred bank charges, also known as interchange fees, for accepting credit card payments. Retailers were not allowed to charge extra on credit card payments to recoup the interchange fee.

Retailers, as part of the agreement, were expected to save as much as $80 million, which would allow them to charges consumers less.

Employers Manufacturers Association Chief Executive Kim Campbell said, however, that anecdotal evidence shows that prices have not come down in the three years since the agreement.

“Nobody is lowering prices anywhere because of this, that’s for sure,” Campbell said, according to NZHerald.co.nz. “I just know from when I hear people that nobody is doing that … overall has it had the bigger effect on prices? I don’t know.

“What I think happened was people got used to paying the credit card fee and that was the end of it and now they just do it.”

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