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Card payment surcharge rules for Merchants

Changes to card payments surcharge rules.
Your guide to understanding the rules for applying surcharges to credit card payments through your merchant terminal or payment gateway.

What is a card surcharge?

  • You can charge an extra fee, known as a surcharge, to customers paying by card. 
  • The surcharge is to recover the cost of processing credit or debit card transactions, known as the cost of accepting card payments. 
  • You cannot charge a customer more than it costs you to process the transaction.
  • There are rules that have been set by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) on how you apply the surcharge.

What cards does it apply to?

  • Mastercard® Debit and Prepaid
  • Mastercard Credit
  • Visa® Debit and Prepaid
  • Visa Credit
  • eftpos Debit and Prepaid
  • American Express® cards issued by Australian banks
  • UnionPay

It does not apply to American Express cards not issued by Australian banks, JCB, Diners Club or Discover Card, as well as gift cards issued by a store.

How does it work?

  • Every year you have an opportunity to review your fees and charges and decide if you will apply a surcharge to your transactions. 
  • Your review needs to be completed by 1 September each year. 

Here are the steps.

Step 1. Review your cost of accepting card payments. 

Your June monthly merchant statement, issued in early July each year, will include two tables which show how much you are being charged to process payments for different card types. 

  • One table will show you your monthly cost of accepting card payments and the other table will show your average annual cost of accepting card payments.
  • The amount shown is the maximum percentage surcharge you will be able to apply to a customer’s transaction if they pay by card. If you want to charge your customers more than this amount, you’ll need to provide proof of how you incurred those additional costs, or potentially face a fine.
  • Any surcharge you apply to card payments cannot exceed your average annual cost of acceptance. 

Here’s an example of how the table will show on your merchant statement. The rates shown are examples only. You will need to refer to your June statement to find the rates relevant to you.

  Mastercard
Credit
Visa
Credit
Mastercard
Debit
Visa
Debit

eftpos

UnionPay
International

Net Sales

$10,000

$10,000

$10,000

$10,000

$10,000

$10,000

Fees Charged

$90

$92

$50

$48

$13

$120

Average Cost

0.90%

0.92%

0.50%

0.48%

0.13%

1.20%

Note: If you accept American Express, you will need to refer to your American Express statement to see your cost of acceptance.

 

Step 2. Apply that cost as a surcharge.

Once you have reviewed your cost of accepting card payments in your June statement, you can apply that cost as a surcharge.

Here are a few examples of how you could apply the surcharge.

1. Apply one surcharge for all card payments.

To make surcharging easier, you may wish to apply just one rate to all card purchases. You will need to apply your lowest annual cost of acceptance if you select this option.

In this example, 0.15% is the lowest annual cost of acceptance and the maximum rate you can charge. 

The rates shown are examples only. You will need to refer to your June statement to find the rates relevant to you.

Card Scheme Annual Cost of Acceptance %

Mastercard Credit

1.30%

Visa Credit

1.32%

Mastercard Debit 0.60%
Visa Debit 0.58%
eftpos 0.15%
Use this rate for all card types
UnionPay  1.60%


2. Apply one surcharge for Mastercard and Visa, and another surcharge for eftpos and UnionPay. 

This option is recommended if you would like to apply one surcharge for customers that pay by Mastercard and Visa, and another surcharge rate for eftpos and UnionPay.

In this example, 0.58% is the lowest annual cost of acceptance and the maximum rate you can charge for Mastercard and Visa cards. You can also apply a maximum surcharge of 0.15% for eftpos transactions and 1.60% for UnionPay transactions. 

The rates shown are examples only. You will need to refer to your June statement to find the rates relevant to you.

Card Scheme Annual Cost of Acceptance %

Mastercard Credit

1.30%

Visa Credit

1.32%

Mastercard Debit 0.60%
Visa Debit 0.58%
Use this rate for Mastercard and Visa
eftpos 0.15%
Use this rate for eftpos
UnionPay  1.60%
Use this rate for UnionPay

 

Step 3. Add the surcharge to your terminal or payment gateway.

One you have reviewed your statement and decided how you will apply the surcharge, it’s time to update your terminal or payment gateway.

How to enable auto-surcharging on your terminal.

The auto-surcharge function on your EFTPOS 1 or EFTPOS Now terminal can automatically add a surcharge to save you having to calculate it manually.

To enable the auto-surcharge:

  1. Call the Merchant Helpdesk on 1300 603 266
  2. Tell us your surcharge rates. For any surcharge above the figure on your monthly statement, you’ll need to retain proof of how you came to this cost.
  3. We’ll apply the rate to your EFTPOS 1 or EFTPOS Now terminal.

Note: Auto-surcharging is not available for contactless transactions on the EFTPOS 1 terminal.

How to update your payment gateway.

To update your surcharge rate on Bank of Melbourne PayWay

  1. Sign into your admin console
  2. Add your surcharge rates.

If you use a Third-Party Payment Gateway provider, then you should contact them directly to update your surcharges for the different card types. Check the list of Third-Party Payment Gateways that are accredited with Bank of Melbourne.

 

FAQs.

The rules permit you to validate your payment costs once a year, and you set your surcharge for the next year based on that information.

You will need to review your surcharge by 1 September each year based on your June yearly statement.

 


 

Need help?

Call 1300 603 266

Call the Merchant Helpdesk.

The Detail

* Westpac Group is not an acquirer for American Express. Merchants that accept American Express payment scheme cards should contact American Express directly.

The information provided on this page is general in nature and does not constitute advice on your circumstances. You should seek independent legal advice as to how these changes may affect you.

Mastercard® and MasterCard® PayPass™ are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated. 

Visa® and Visa PayWave are registered trademarks of Visa in the United States. 

If you want to accept American Express, you'll need to enter into a separate agreement with American Express. American Express® is a registered trademark of American Express.

JCB is a registered trademark of JCB International. 

UnionPay is a registered trademark of UnionPay International Co., Ltd.