Shoppers slugged with HUGE card fees after being told they couldn’t pay with cash over Christmas

Shoppers have been secretly hit with huge card fees after being told they couldn’t pay with cash over Christmas due to the pandemic.

Customers have been urged to contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission if they believe they’ve been unfairly, or unknowingly, hit with the fees. 

To stop the spread of Covid-19 on notes and coins, many shops have put a ban on cash payments and require customers to pay with a debit or credit card.

But once shoppers pay up, merchants have added as much as 0.1 per cent to the cost, with concerns some businesses don’t pre-warn customers about the fee.

For example, a $20 purchase would end up costing $20.20.

To stop the spread of Covid-19, many shops have put a ban on cash payments and require customers to pay with a debit or credit card

To stop the spread of Covid-19, many shops have put a ban on cash payments and require customers to pay with a debit or credit card

Merchants add as much as 0.1 per cent to the cost of card payments. For example, a $20 purchase would end up costing $20.20 (pictured, shoppers in Sydney on Boxing Day)

Merchants add as much as 0.1 per cent to the cost of card payments. For example, a $20 purchase would end up costing $20.20 (pictured, shoppers in Sydney on Boxing Day)

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s deputy head of payments policy Chris Thompson said shops must be ‘clear, accurate and not misleading’ when informing customers of the fees.

‘If a merchant is going to surcharge all types of card payments while not accepting cash, the posted price should include the minimum surcharge,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.

‘The advertised price should be achievable by at least one method of payment without an additional charge being put on top of it.’

The number of consumers turning to card payments over cash has increased during the pandemic. 

In October 2019, $10.6billion was taken out at Australian ATMS. This fell to $8.9billion during the same period this year.

Competition watchdog the ACCC said under consumer law dictates businesses are allowed to charge fees for customers who tap or swipe. 

But an ACCC spokesman said shops aren’t allowed to charge consumers more than what it costs them to process a credit or debit card payment – and customers should contact the watchdog if they believe this has happened to them.  

An ACCC spokesman said shops aren't allowed to charge consumers more than what it costs them to process a credit or debit card payment (pictured, shoppers in Sydney on Boxing Day)

An ACCC spokesman said shops aren’t allowed to charge consumers more than what it costs them to process a credit or debit card payment (pictured, shoppers in Sydney on Boxing Day)

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