Payment Card Surcharge Standards

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has released its Conclusions Paper into its Review of Card Payments Regulation and the final standards for card payment surcharging (which can be accessed here). 

These changes will directly affect ticketing agents that currently (or intend to) surcharge customers who purchase tickets using a credit or debit card.

What has changed?

  • The new standard defines the ‘permitted surcharge’ for each type of card, which is based on a merchant’s average cost of acceptance for that type of card
  • The definition of costs of acceptance is more narrowly defined than the existing standards (but broader than originally proposed) to improve enforceability
  • The ACCC has been given powers to enforce breaches of excessive surcharging
  • If merchants choose to apply a single surcharge rate for two or more types of cards, they may not do so at a rate that would imply excessive surcharging of any card
  • A list of BINs will be published to allow merchants to distinguish electronically between different card types from 1 July 2017
  • Service providers cannot refuse to provide card services to merchants because they surcharge or intend to surcharge
  • Banks (and other payment facilitators) will provide merchants with easy-to-understand information on the costs of acceptance for each type of card from 1 June 2017. This information will help merchants determine the ‘permitted surcharge’.

The changes will take effect on 1 September 2016 for large merchants and on 1 September 2017 for small merchants.

Further information on card payment surcharging can be found on the RBA website.

Should you have any queries in regard to credit card surcharging, please contact Director, Policy and Programs Kim Tran at or (03) 8614 2000.