9 Apr 2012

Credit card fee would change shoppers' habits - survey

4:27 pm on 9 April 2012

More than 70% of customers would be very likely to change where they shop to avoid a fee for using their credit card, research shows.

The survey of 1000 New Zealanders looked at what impact a 3% surcharge would have on consumers' habits.

Retailers have been allowed to impose a surcharge for using credit cards since a Commerce Commission ruling in April 2010.

The survey found that 71.7% were very likely to switch stores rather than pay a surcharge and 18.1% were somewhat likely to do so.

The survey, commissioned by public relations agency Impact PR, also found that 88.4% thought retailers which charge a surcharge are not communicating enough information about the fee.

Consumer New Zealand chief executive Sue Chetwin says some of the fees are starting to get quite hefty - particularly at airlines.

She says the higher price is driving people to shop elsewhere or consider different ways of paying.

Ms Chetwin says retailers need to ensure they explain any fees so consumers are not surprised at the till.

However, the Retailers' Association says the survey is misleading, as the 3% surcharge figure quoted is about three times higher than most retailers actually charge.

Retailers' Association chief executive John Albertson says the questions used in the survey were naive as obviously people will say they will go elsewhere if they have to pay more.

Mr Albertson says very few retailers, apart from taxi companies, airlines and hotels, actually use surcharges.