Shop at Coles? You could now be charged when you tap and go

Polly Fleeting

Monday 20 January 2020

Down down, prices are, wait... up? 

Last week, supermarket giant Coles announced that it would change the way it processes payments from customers who tap and go using a visa debit card, meaning shoppers could face transaction charges from their bank when they pay for their groceries.

Well, not exactly. 

Last week, supermarket giant Coles announced that it would change the way it processes payments from customers who tap and go using a visa debit card, meaning shoppers could face transaction charges from their bank when they pay for their groceries. 

So how is this happening? Well, when a customer taps their card at a Coles checkout the transaction will automatically be put through as eftpos, instead of Visa/credit, as often it is the more cost-effective way for merchants to process payments.  

Some bank accounts have restrictions on the amount of eftpos transactions cardholders can make, so tapping their card at Coles or another retailer opens them up to being stung with extra charges. 

How do I know if this affects me? 

The good news is that most banks and financial institutions don’t actually charge transaction fees on eftpos, meaning those customers won’t be affected at all by the change made by Coles. 

On the other hand, some smaller credit unions and mutual banks still do.  

According to the latest data in the Mozo database, there are 21 providers that charge an eftpos transaction fee, ranging anywhere from $0.50 to $2.00 per transaction, averaging around $0.85.

Bear in mind that many of these providers have a certain number of free transactions or rebated fees per month, so users won’t be charged for eftpos transactions that fall within the requirements of these benefits.

So you can check if these changes will affect you next time you do the grocery shop, here’s a list of providers that charge per transaction for eftpos: 

  • abal banking
  • Australian Military Bank 
  • Bank First 
  • Central West Credit Union 
  • Community First Credit Union 
  • Delphi Bank 
  • Family First Credit Union 
  • G&C Mutual Bank 
  • GMCU
  • Hume Bank 
  • Hunter United 
  • IMB Bank 
  • Macquarie Credit Union 
  • Newcastle Permanent 
  • Orange Credit Union 
  • P&N Bank 
  • Police Bank 
  • Police Credit Union 
  • QBANK 
  • South West Slopes Credit Union 
  • Summerland Credit Union 

“This issue impacts a very small percentage of consumers who bank with financial institutions that continue to charge per transaction fees on a small number of accounts,” Warwick Ponder, Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications for eftpos told New Idea Food. 

“eftpos strongly believes that customers should not be impacted, as the funds come out of the same account. These cards are dual network cards and merchants can choose to route transactions to either eftpos or the other scheme to manage costs, which can have positive impact for the merchant and all of their customers.”  

Checkout tips - how to avoid the eftpos charge 

If you hold a card that could be hit with extra fees by tapping at Coles, here are some things to consider before you hit the checkout. 

  • Opt to insert over tap: While you may love the ease of tapping your card wherever you go, do things a little old school when you do your shop - because really, it’s a matter of a few seconds.  
  • Got another card? Use that: It’s fair to assume that you may have more than one card in your wallet - say a Mastercard or credit card - so why not use that instead? 
  • Change card providers: If you’re worried about your current provider and wherever or not you’ve been charged for eftpos transactions elsewhere, you could always make the switch to a different card - there are plenty of options that don’t have an eftpos fee.   

Want to weigh up your debit card against the rest? Check out the table below or jump over to our debit card comparison tool.

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