Published on Sep 6, 2016

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Paying by EFTpos is ubiquitous throughout most of Australia these days, as is paying a surcharge. So much so, that it is a not uncommon sight to see somebody rummaging fruitlessly around in a dusty money compartment in their wallet, because an EFTpos machine has failed to function.


eftpos surcharge


Because paying by card has become so commonplace, businesses have been passing on the charge of using a credit card to their customers via a surcharge.


Australians are savvy spenders and customers are particularly aware of disparities in surcharge amounts between businesses. So it is important to get your surcharge amounts calculated correctly.


Excessive surcharges can have a negative impact on customer satisfaction, and may turn a potential repeat customer into a never-to-return customer.


To deal with the excessive charges of some business operators, the Australian competition watchdog, the ACCC, will now crack down on surcharge amounts that are above acceptable amounts.


Big businesses still charging excessive surcharges after 1st September this year will find themselves in hot water.


For small business operators the changes to surcharge rules will not come into force until 1st September 2017.


However, the surcharge is not disappearing altogether – it’s just being scaled down to an amount in line with the actual costs involved in processing card payments.


So instead of waiting until the last minute to implement your changes, you can start to prepare now so that you aren’t overcharging your customers, or missing out on fees that you can fairly charge for.


To work out what you are entitled to charge, create a list of all the elements that go into processing your customer payments. This will help you break down the fees and charges, and calculate how much you are entitled to charge, before the changes begin next year.


The elements that can be recovered in your surcharge are listed below:


  • Merchant service fees, along with hardware rental fees for EFT machines, etc.


  • Gateway fees which may be payable


  • Fraud prevention fees that may be paid to a third party provider to protect against fraudulent card use.



Generally, the cost of accepting payment via EFTpos for domestic products is not more than 0.5% of the transaction. While for credit cards that cost is typically no more than 2% of the transaction.


By 2017 banks should be providing statements that detail the fees charged for card usage, and these can be used to calculate your customer fee for card use.


Big businesses are defined as those that have:


  • a consolidated gross revenue of more than $25 million at June 30, 2015
  • employs 50 or more employees at June 30, 2015
  • Have a consolidated gross assets of more than $12.5 million as at June 30, 2015

If you don’t meet two or more of the above categories, you have until 1 September 2017 to make the necessary changes to your fee structure.


Further information can be found at the ACCC.