I have been surprised a number of times when reconciling my credit card statement where a higher charge appears than on the receipt that I have been provided. Say the credit card receipt is for $10. On the credit card statement it may be $10.20
One example of where this happens is our local surf club. Having asked them about the discrepancy they say the fee is levied by the credit card POS equipment supplier, and not by them, after the credit card payment has been made with the club. So these extra charges are NOT merchant fees as normally understood, which are levied by the retailer/merchant.
I have noticed that this is happening more, particularly by the hospitality industry.
Often we have no idea that an extra amount will be charge because there are no signs advising of this. If we do know there will be a charge because we have been hit with one before at that venue, we have no idea what that extra amount will be until the credit card statement arrives. And obviously at no point is the whole final charge being displayed.
Is this legal? Has anyone else noticed these sorts of extra charges?
Have you queried that venerable bastion of consumer protection the ACCC or the regulator the RBA?
From advice posted it appears that surcharges can be whatever so long as they are posted, but today I find most businesses do not post them just show them on their card terminal for an ‘OK’ in some cases but not even that in others.
‘Our Australian light handed approach’ to ever more hands held out for ever more cuts of the ‘take’ seems to have opened a pandora box of opportunity.
‘No complaints lodged, no problems, no worries, works as designed’? ka-ching.
Help me understand the issue please. So does this mean when you make your payment, any merchant fees show up on the POS device/receipt but you don’t see extra fees levied until you get your bank statement? Is it up to the retailer to decide what amount of fees levied on the tx by the credit card POS equipment supplier is passed on to the customer, so should be transparent?
I suspect that Pay Wave where you don’t have to PIN or OK under $100 would encourage sneaking in extra charges as much as it’s convenient for us to use. I’m sure the lawyers would have it covered in Ts&Cs in case anyone queries it - kind of e-small-print.
No. I had just reconciled our latest credit card statement when another one of these undeclared charges showed up. I was telling the wife woman and she quipped that I should do a post here about it. So I did.
Do you know what the equipment used at the POS? This is often on the receipts issued by the equipment at the point of sale. It may alternatively provide information on the bank which the equipment is leased from.
This might allow you to find the merchant agreement to see if it is the retailer or the equipment supplier that charges the fee.
I personally believe that it would be unlikely for a equipment supplier to charge fees after the transaction is processed. If this occurred, I suspect that this would have to be another transaction on a statement (like a forex transaction fees). If it is included in the purchase amount, I suspect that the retailer has included the surcharge within the POS software/firmware within the POS equipment to pass on the costs to the consumer. This hopefully would have been included in the amount shown on the receipt (which it appears it isn’t).
The only other place the charge could come from would be your own bank, such as an account which has a number of free transactions and fees charged on transactions above those which are free. I would be surprised that these would be added to a purchase price, but a separate items on the statement. It might be worth checking your card issuer to see if they are imposing any fees to rule them out.
The extra charges don’t show up on the receipt. As the example I gave above, the receipt will show a grand total of $10. When we get the credit card statement that transaction may show as $10.20. This means 20c has been added by the POS equipment supplier AFTER the transaction was completed.
I don’t mind a merchant fee (say the 20c) being added by the venue. What I object to is the fact that, unless this has happened at that venue before, I may be unaware an additional fee will be charged. And I don’t know what percentage they are going to be charging, because if I did, I may wish to change to a different card or different mode of payment.
There are now non-bank service providers who will process and pass on POS transactions. They may also give/rent/lease/sell POS equipment as part of the package.
Not all of these process transactions the same, and they don’t charge retailers or the clients the same.
The wife woman has asked the management of our local surf club, and they say the extra charges are nothing to do with them. It is not a merchant fee set by them. They were the ones who told her that it was done by the people who provided the POS equipment.
I don’t have limitations on the number of transactions.
As you say, if the bank imposes additional charges they appear as a seperate line item, such as with international transaction fees.
Having very recently, earlier this week been to the big smoke (Sydney) I have seen similar. An $11.00 CC charge appeared on the statement as $11.27. The only advice at the counter, a small coffee shop was a message on the POS device when paying that had some wording that extra charges may apply. I did not pay any further attention, and cannot put hand on the paper receipt. I noticed similar on several other small purchases elsewhere. The POS machines were of a different style in appearance to the typical CBA, ANZ etc branded options.
It may be that some businesses are more casual at advising they add a surcharge for CC payments and the percentage recovered. I’m curious to know more and who the alternate providers of the retail services may be. Square is one of those offering an alternative to the bank branded products.
I don’t use my credit card often, mostly use a Visa branded debit card.
Could be seeing here the application of the interchange charges that are passed on from the merchants bank, the acquirer, to the card holders bank, the issuer, as part of the transaction costs. Someone has to pay.
The interchange charges for Eftpos and debit card transactions are considerably lower than those for credit card processing.
Could be that some card issuers have decided to pass on these interchange fees directly to the card holder rather than absorb them as a cost of doing business, and therefore appear on the card statement.
This cost is separate from the merchant fees charged to businesses, and many of whom charge a surcharge at point of sale these days.
I have spoken to the bank (CBA) and they can only see the final amount being requested; $10.20 in my prior example. As they can only see the final amount, they can not determine if it is the merchant or the POS provider, who is transacting on behalf of the merchant, that levied the extra amount. The CBA said we need to talk to the merchant, but as I indicated above they claim not to be responsible for the extra fee.
I had a look at the [ACCC card surcharges] (Card surcharges | ACCC) and the ACCC price displays in relation to credit card surcharges. It would seem that if patrons can pay with cash, there is no requirement to display or disclose any credit card surcharge in or with their pricing, which is fine.
There was no mention that I could see of the need to display any surcharge on receipts.
Thanks for sharing. Very useful to know. I have noticed adverts where small businesses can get POS equipment for free so don’t pay lease fee to banks. Perhaps the POS Fee added is what offsets the cost to the merchants (like small market stall holders) and that is how the POS lessors make money. Hope i am making sense. Lol
It looks like Zeller terminals (and there could be others) may pass on surcharges automatically to customers so the the merchant doesn’t pay any fees…
Zeller helps you avoid EFTPOS fees by giving you the option to surcharge your customers automatically. All you need to pay for is Zeller Terminal, which is available for a one-off purchase price of $299 – no hidden charges or monthly terminal rental fees apply.
However, for this particular terminal…
With surcharging enabled, Zeller Terminal will automatically apply a surcharge and the transaction total will be displayed on-screen.
So the customer should know a surcharge is being charged. It is unclear if the surcharge appears on the credit card slip. It is possible that it doesn’t appear on a business issued receipt/tax invoice but appears on the credit card slip. One would need to pay attention as the register/POS amount would be different to that displayed on the payment terminal.
Sneaky, possibly yes if the business didn’t disclose this was occurring as one would assume the register amount is that charged to one’s card. One would need to be switched on rather than just tapping merrily.
If the credit card receipt does not show a surcharge, and there was a surcharge after credit card receipt was issued and this charge wasn’t from your bank, you would be within your rights to ask for the additional charge to be refunded by the merchant.
This is a sneaky charge added to your purchase and not authorised by you. In such case, you should be refunded the surcharge.
This is how that eftpos terminal company that advertise extensively on TV about saving businesses tens of thousands of dollars work.
It’s not a merchant fee, it’s a terminal supplier fee.
My mechanic signed up for this terminal and was shocked to see his customers copping a fee, up to $10 in some cases, just for using their card.
Happens all the time. My barber charged me $19. That’s the amount on the screen on his iPad. However checking the transaction online reveals the actual charge was $19.23. Bakers delight loaf of bread was $6 and actual charge is $6.90! Bye bye Bakers Delight for me.
unbelievable! So the poor buggers have no say about what the POS equipment supplier does then? Lookout, when you next walk through the door the door maker might levy a fee also. They’re simply passing on their costs in a deceptive and underhanded manner and reaping the benefit rather than increasing prices.
Can’t wait to see the ripping rorts if digital currency ever comes in for consumers.
The issue is, a merchant/retailer needs to disclose costs associated with a purchase. If the merchant/retailer or their POS payment system imposes a charge onto the consumer, this needs to have the authorisation of the customer before such charges are imposed. If this doesn’t occur, businesses could start imposing ‘sneaky’ fees that consumer’s won’t know what they are until they check their bank statements. The amount charged could be significant by itself or add up to significant amounts over time. Such is unacceptable.
I had noticed this some many months ago, because I, like Meltam, check my receipts against statements and noticed a lot of these higher charges. Always small (so far) and most people don’t check (or. even get a receipt these days) so been happening for some time. Grossly underhand, and really needs to be looked at. How do we formally complain to ASIC I wonder?
Choice does need to investigate this, and soon.