New laws passed by the Senate on Monday ensure customers are charged only according to the true amount of a merchant’s costs in accepting payment.
National Retail Association CEO Trevor Evans said the laws, while targeted at consumers, would also protect reputable and fair retailers from having their reputations trashed by a small handful that do the wrong thing.
“We congratulate the Turnbull Government for the strong and swift action it has taken on this issue, as well as for the genuine way it has engaged in consultations with the retail sector,” he said.
“There has no doubt been gouging of consumers when it comes to credit card fees, but, in our experience, it has largely been hotels, airlines and taxi companies charging an amount far in excess of the actual cost of providing the service. Along the way, they have given all retailers a bad name.
“We want consumers to be able to spend their hard-earned cash on the things they want to buy, not on the costs of buying them.”
Mr Evans thanked the Government for its efforts to understand the retail sector and for giving the NRA a voice in the consultation process.
He called for a light touch in enforcing the new rules, particularly with small businesses, saying implementing the new safeguards would be a learning curve for many retailers.
“The regulators need to remember, when starting to enforce these rules, that small businesses may not all be across the complex and changing regulations in this space. We urge the authorities to approach the issue from a position of educating, rather than punishing, once the new laws are rolled out later this year.”
Any retailers unsure about their compliance with the new arrangements should contact their industry association for advice.