Travel Agents

AFTA's end of year surcharging "shit fight"

Anne Majumdar

Any pending changes to current credit card surcharging arrangements will not take effect until early to mid-2016, with the Australian Federation of Travel Agents still working hard to gain clarity on the issue.

Until then, current credit card surcharging arrangements continue, AFTA stressed.

In October, the Turnbull government confirmed it will ban merchants from levying credit and debit card surcharges “above the cost of acceptance” with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission to police the new rules.

“The decision by the federal government to stick it into everyone over surcharging has certainly kept us off the street,” AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury told Travel Weekly.

At present, the Commonwealth Government allows any business which accepts credit payments to charge a surcharge “that covers all fixed costs of accepting a credit card”. However, the fees vary from one credit card provider to another.

“It does appear that they are not going to remove the ability for retailers to surcharge. But what we don’t have yet are the rules around what you’re allowed to surcharge for,” Westbury said.

“Under the changes, surcharging will be allowed but it has to be non-excessive surcharging but they’re going to have to develop regulations for us then to understand what that means.

“So it’s an end of year shit fight basically.”

The Reserve Bank of Australia has released a discussion paper with submissions due by the beginning of February, but until then, the industry does not have any guidance as to what excessive surcharging means, Westbury confirmed.

He expected clarity on the issue when final legislation is drafted and guidance notes issued in around mid to late February.

 

 

Here are AFTA’s guidelines on how surcharges should be calculated:

Defining the responsible cost of acceptance?

– The surcharge must represent the direct cost of providing this payment option to the consumer.

What is included in the surcharge?

The interchange fee: A merchant is charge an interchange fee for every payment it accepts from a credit or debit card

The cost of maintaining the merchant terminal: This includes costs for example the phone line, applicable insurance and bank fees charged to have a merchant terminal

Fraud prevention: Business must ensure they are not facilitating a fraudulent payment. Therefore business may implement fraud prevention procedures and in some circumstances a business will be required to do so by the bank and card issuer

 



SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

4 responses to “AFTA's end of year surcharging "shit fight"”

  1. I dont have a crystal ball so how do you surcharge the correct amount when you have no idea what that persons applicable fee is? We accept all card brands and the card fees are from .39% up to a whopping 3.5%. We dont find out the amount until we receive our merchant statement AFTER the card has been debited, so the best any one can do is take the total and average the cost out over a month. So unless the banks can come up with a set % no one will be able to adhere to an ill conceived concept.

  2. so how do you account for banks & their dodgy chargeback policies ? For smaller agencies, it would be a huge percentage.
    A simpler way, would be to change the rules on chargebacks. An agent supplies the ticket, their job is done. Why is an agency responsible for an airline going under ?

  3. I dont have a crystal ball so how do you surcharge the correct amount when you have no idea what that persons applicable fee is? We accept all card brands and the card fees are from .39% up to a whopping 3.5%. We dont find out the amount until we receive our merchant statement AFTER the card has been debited, so the best any one can do is take the total and average the cost out over a month. So unless the banks can come up with a set % no one will be able to adhere to an ill conceived concept.

  4. so how do you account for banks & their dodgy chargeback policies ? For smaller agencies, it would be a huge percentage.
    A simpler way, would be to change the rules on chargebacks. An agent supplies the ticket, their job is done. Why is an agency responsible for an airline going under ?

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