Consumer watchdog calls for limits on credit card surcharges

Choice, the consumer watchdog, has called on the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to estimate how much is paid by the public in credit card surcharges and to take steps to limit the amount merchants can charge.

Matt Levey, head of campaigns at the group, asserted that the price paid to use plastic by consumers must be "in line" with the genuine costs faced by merchants.

He called for greater transparency, saying that these costs should be clearly displayed when a transaction is taking place.

"We need a reliable estimate from the RBA of what the public pays in surcharges to show if it's hundreds of millions or even more," he stated.

Mr Levey warned that until this happens, some businesses in the country will continue to charge the public too much for credit card transactions in order to boost their profits.

However, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia's general manager of reputation Stuart Woodward recently said in a submission to the RBA obtained by the Australian that a cap on surcharges will adversely impact on consumers because it could encourage retailers to push their surcharges up to the capped level.

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