SYDNEY, 29 November 2012
Visa today welcomed the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) announcement that it will restrict merchant surcharging on payment cards as a step in the right direction, but expressed concerns about how the new limits can be successfully implemented.
Visa’s Country Manager Australia, Vipin Kalra, said that Visa remains opposed to the inclusion of fraud charges in any merchant surcharge passed on to consumers.
“We are still assessing the implications of the RBA’s Guidance Note. Visa remains fully committed to working with the RBA to lower surcharges, but we are concerned that the guidelines are open to interpretation.
“We believe it’s wrong to allow merchants to pass on the cost of fraud to consumers, who in most cases bear no responsibility for the fraud in the first place,” he said.
However he said that if the RBA does not accept this argument, then the Guidance Note’s inclusion of the need for merchants to adopt best practice anti-fraud measures as a first step before including the cost of fraud in a surcharge was a step in the right direction.
The RBA said it will allow card schemes rules to limit surcharges to the “reasonable cost” of card acceptance, with the changes to take effect from 18 March 2013.
Mr Kalra said Visa was concerned about the long list of costs in the RBA’s Guidance Note that may be passed on as surcharges, as this would make it difficult for consumers to know whether a surcharge is fair or not.
“The effectiveness of the proposed approach will ultimately be determined by whether merchants reduce their levels of surcharging so as not to penalise consumers for using their preferred form of payment - payment cards,” he said.
“We’ll be working to provide clearer guidelines to the industry on the new rules to be included in Visa’s International Operating Regulations.
“We certainly want to see the current high levels of merchant surcharging come down and we want to avoid a costly and complex enforcement process,” he said.
About Visa: Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.visa.com.au.