‘Tap and go’ reforms would save merchants $290m a year, says small business ombudsman


A parliamentary committee recommendation for banks to reduce ‘tap and go’ transaction fees has attracted support from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics recommended that banks let merchants send tap-and-go payments from debit cards through eftpos instead of credit, and that regulatory action be taken if banks do not comply by 1 April 2018.

Carnell welcomed the recommendation, noting the average total merchant fee for a debit transaction is 0.26% with eftpos and 0.58% with Visa or Mastercard and that “it’s higher for small businesses”.

“Shoppers aren’t given a choice with pay wave, as banks don’t allow merchants to choose the route through which contactless payments are processed,” she said.

“It’s estimated that processing tap-and-go transactions through credit cards instead of eftpos costs businesses $290 million a year.”

Carnell said she was encouraged that ANZ told the committee they would give merchants a choice and said she looked forward to seeing timelines for implementation.

“Consumers and small businesses are being exploited for utilising the convenience of tap-and-go,” she said.

“Small businesses are unwilling tax collectors for banks and international credit card companies. They don’t have the negotiating power of big business to get special deals.

“As we move towards a cashless economy it’s vital that transaction fees are kept as low as possible.”