13 Aug 2009

Consumer group supports credit card surcharge

3:21 pm on 13 August 2009

Consumer New Zealand believes shoppers will benefit in the long run from a decision allowing retailers to impose surcharges for using credit cards.

The change is the result of an out of court settlement between the Commerce Commission and credit card company Visa.

The commission challenged Visa, claiming credit card interchange, or service fees, breached the Commerce Act and did not promote competition.

In the past, all customers have borne the cost of credit card transactions, with retailers factoring the 1% to 3% into their general pricing.

From no later than April next year, only people who use a credit card for their purchases will be charged a fee.

Consumer New Zealand chief executive Sue Chetwin says she thinks this will encourage people to opt to use cash and Eftpos.

She believes if that happens, surcharges on credit cards could drop because the credit companies may be forced to provide competitive pricing to keep customers.