Visa welcomes Reserve Bank proposals to limit card surcharges

Sydney, 12 June 2012

Visa today welcomed the Reserve Bank of Australia’s announcement that it will allow card schemes to put in place new rules to limit excessive surcharges on credit and debit card payments.
“We are pleased that the RBA has taken steps to reduce surcharging, which has become a real problem in Australia,” Visa’s Country Manager Australia, Vipin Kalra, said.
“Today’s announcement is good news for consumers and will help protect them from paying more than they need to because of excessive surcharging.”
“Visa looks forward to working with the industry to implement the new rules in a way that delivers the best outcome for Australians.”
Under the changes, Visa will be able to amend its operating regulations to prevent any surcharge that is above the “reasonable” cost to a merchant to accept a card payment.
Mr Kalra said Visa will now look at ways to implement the new approach including participating in the RBA’s assessment of how to define the reasonable cost of card acceptance, as well as considering measures to monitor surcharging and enforce compliance.
“For a limit on surcharging to be most effective, it has to be a simple solution and the cost of card acceptance has to be clearly defined,” he said.
He added Visa has long believed surcharging is unfair as it penalises consumers for using cards and does not take into account the costs to merchants of accepting less efficient payment methods such as cash or cheques.
“We’re pleased today’s announcement provides a framework to address the practice of blended surcharging, which has been a growing problem in Australia. This is where consumers are charged the same surcharge, whether they use a debit or a credit card, or whether they use a higher or lower cost card scheme,” Mr Kalra said. 
“Visa appreciates the willingness of the RBA to engage on this important consumer issue in recent months and we look forward to working with everyone involved to develop an implementation plan and timeframe.”
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Judy Shaw


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