Jetstar quietly increased its Visa surcharge
You'll pay more than twice as much now for debit card bookings.
If you're paying for a flight on low-cost carrier Jetstar with a Visa debit card, it's now a little more expensive.
On 14 January, Jetstar raised the surcharge for payments using Visa debit cards from 0.21% of the total to 0.44% of the total. That means the surcharge has more than doubled.
Jetstar often says that its typical fare is under $100. For a $99 fare, that lifts the surcharge from $0.21 to $0.44. So while it's a big increase in percentage terms, I doubt it's going to stop too many people using their debit cards.
Credit cards continue to attract a 1% surcharge, while debit Mastercards score a 0.21% fee. If you don't want to pay a surcharge at all, you can use POLi or a Jetstar Mastercard.
Historically, these surcharges were much higher. Prior to a regulatory crackdown in 2016, Jetstar charged a whopping $8.50 per sector for any credit card booking. (That fee still applies to Jetstar Asia bookings.)
After the ACCC asked all four major Australian airlines (Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Tigerair) to adjust those fees to reflect the actual cost of processing, Jetstar actually ended up with the lowest domestic surcharges at the time. Those fees have changed several times since, and I'd expect we'll see them change again in early 2021, if not sooner.
Surcharges are an annoying fact of life. I wouldn't go out of my way to avoid them when they're below 1%, but when they're higher than that, you should weigh up your options even when you're trying to earn points on most of your purchases.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.
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