Consumers object to credit card surcharges

The majority of Aussie consumers object to having to pay credit card surcharges, new research shows.

A survey by consumer advocate group Choice found that 68 per cent of people do not believe retailers and other businesses should be allowed to charge extra to those who choose to pay with plastic.

The Choice report, which was commissioned by NSW government's Fair Trading, also found that consumers are increasingly concerned that surcharges go beyond just covering card costs and are used to raise extra revenue.

Respondents revealed that surcharges are most common in industries such as air travel, telecommunications, hotels, restaurants, utilities, taxis and petrol stations, with the highest surcharge reportedly from Qantas at $25 per person per international booking.

"The report argues that transparent surcharges at reasonable levels, which are typically one percent for most cards, are fair enough," said Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn.

"But we are concerned by excessive surcharges that are often not apparent until after you've paid, making it too late to use an alternative fee-free method."

Consumers also searching for better deals and interest rates could choose to compare credit cards and consider switching provider. Reserve Bank data shows that the number of merchants surcharging has risen steeply over the past few years, with 20 per cent of smaller merchants and 40 per cent of larger businesses now surcharging their customers.

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