MALL business owners have been urged to review their payment surcharges ahead of the ban on excessive payment surcharges in force 1st September.

The ACCC recommends small businesses assess their current surcharge models before the law comes into force, which limits the amount a business can charge customers for use of EFTPOS, MasterCard, Visa, and American Express.

The surcharge regulations came into effect for large businesses last year.

ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper says small businesses should review their surcharge methods to ensure they are compliant when the law comes into effect.

“Businesses can only pass on to customers what it costs them to process a payment such as bank fees and terminal costs,” says Schaper.

“For example, if your cost of acceptance for Visa Credit is one per cent you can only surcharge one per cent on Visa credit card payments onto your customers.”

Small businesses will receive information from their bank in order to calculate appropriate surcharges when accepting debit or credit cards.

A fact sheet is available from the ACCC for business owners to better understand their obligations.

“Banks are required to send business merchant statements which clearly set out the business’ costs of acceptance for each payment method,” says Dr Schaper.

The ACCC also reminds businesses that surcharges are not mandatory, and the ban has no effect on those who do not impose a surcharge.

“In the lead up to last year’s excessive surcharging ban on large businesses, many reviewed and amended their surcharging practices to reflect the costs to the business and we hope small businesses will do the same,” says Schaper.

Under the new regulation the ACCC has been given new powers to be able to enforce the ban.

A surcharge will be considered excessive where it exceeds the permitted cost of acceptance as defined by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Not covered by the surcharge ban are BPAY, PayPal, Diners Club, cash, and cheques.

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