Media Release

Aussies say no to ‘tap-and-go’ tax: 68% bow out of purchases with surcharges

  • Almost all Aussies (94%) think surcharge fees are a rip-off
  • finder.com.au launches campaign to help consumers avoid card fees
  • Join the social change movement by nominating your local fee-free shop

17 September 2018, Sydney, Australia – Shops without a credit or debit card surcharge fee and minimum spend requirement will be celebrated in a brand new campaign championed by finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything.

The Fee-Free Shop campaign was launched to help Australians shop fee-free – with confidence – at their local cafes, restaurants and retailers.

According to a new finder.com.au survey of 2,012 Australians, 94% of consumers think card surcharges are a rip-off.

In addition, more than two thirds (68%) of Australians would back out of a purchase if they discover a surcharge will be applied.

In a major win for consumers, Australians can now easily spot shops without fees by looking for the blue Fee-Free Shop sticker on shop windows before entering the store.

Alternatively, they can use the searchable Fee-Free Shop map where they can simply input their postcode or address to find the nearest shops without card fees.

Bessie Hassan, Money Expert at finder.com.au, said the campaign hopes to make surcharges and minimum spend requirements a thing of the past.

“As we become a cashless society, customers shouldn’t be charged 0.5–1-5% in fees for simply choosing to pay by card.”

“When consumers see one of the Fee-Free Shop stickers, they immediately know they won’t be stung with a surcharge or minimum transaction amount for the simple privilege of using their debit or credit card,” she said.

“It [the Fee-Free Shop campaign] is about shining a spotlight on businesses that don’t enforce these outdated fees.

The finder.com.au survey also found, one in three Aussies (32%) were not informed that they would be charged a fee for using their credit card at the point of purchase.

“This is quite shocking – charging a surcharge without the customer’s knowledge is an unfair and unwelcome surprise,” said Hassan.

The research reveals surcharges are most common at restaurants, hotels, cafes and when buying tickets for a concert.

Restaurants are the biggest culprits, with 13% of respondents admitting they’d been slapped with a surcharge without their knowledge while dining out.

“Young adults are the biggest targets, with 42% of Generation Y hit with a credit card surcharge without being informed beforehand by staff or a sign,” she said.

Hassan is expecting shoppers to vote with their feet.

“Consumers have more payment options at their fingertips than ever before, be that cash, cards or newer payment systems,” she said.

“In the era of digital transactions, minimum spend restrictions and surcharges on card transactions are a major bugbear for consumers.”

The Fee-Free Shop campaign will mean more consumer choice, she said.

“Retailers are free to impose certain extra fees, in the same way that consumers are free to go elsewhere.

“Surcharges no matter how small could turn customers away and could damage a retailer’s reputation and bottom line. More Australian businesses are going to have to phase out these unnecessary fees or risk losing customers.”

“If you're at your favourite shop and they don't charge fees or a minimum spend, please nominate them – so far we have had 224 stores proudly come onboard as fee-free shops.

“Shop owners and workers are also encouraged to self nominate. By doing so, you’ll be helping regular Aussies make a better informed decision on how and where to spend their hard-earned money.”

Social users can also use the hashtag #FeeFreeShop to let other customers know about merchants who don’t pass on fees to their customers.

Fast facts:

  • Finder.com.au calculated credit card surcharge fees for coffee purchases alone could be collectively costing Australians $110 million per year.
  • The RBA indicates as a guide that the costs to merchants of accepting payment by debit cards is around 0.5%, by credit card 1-1.5% and for American Express cards around 2-3%.
  • It is now illegal for businesses to charge more than the amount it costs them to accept card payment. There isn’t any laws around minimum spend requirements however they can encourage increased spending and/or unnecessary purchases.

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For further information

Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.

About us

More than 3 million Australians turn to finder.com.au every month to save money, time and make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. Since launching in 2006, we’ve helped our users make more than 17 million decisions.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now operate in the United States and United Kingdom. For further information visit www.finder.com.au.

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