Media Releases

Retail NZ welcomes Government move on card fees

10 December 2020.

Retail NZ says it’s great news that the Government is moving ahead with plans to regulate credit and contactless debit card fees.

“Retail NZ has been campaigning for increased transparency and oversight of merchant service fees, because the fees for contactless debit and credit card transactions have been much much higher than in similar markets overseas such as Australia and the UK,” Greg Harford, Retail NZ’s Chief Executive, said today. “While we have seen some movement on interchange fees by the card companies over the past 18 months, and the unbundling of charges for credit and contactless debit by most banks, overall we continue to hear from retailers that fees are too high, and that they can act as a deterrent to the uptake of contactless payments.

“In New Zealand, standard EFTPOS transactions are mostly free.  Merchant Service Fees are levied by a retailer’s bank whenever a customer uses a contactless debit card, or a credit card. A key component of merchant service fees are interchange rates, which the banks pay to each other.  Fees for ecommerce transactions, often charged by a payments gateway, and Buy Now Pay Later services are even higher. 

“In retail, merchant fees tend to be incorporated into the price of goods, while in the hospitality sector, surcharging is more prevalent. Either way, customers are paying more for goods and services because of the fees.

“There is a wide variation in the fees charged by banks across the retail sector and merchant fees and interchange tables are often complex to understand. However, retailers need to be closely reviewing what Merchant Service Fees they are being charged by their Banks, and the kinds of cards their customers are paying with, in order to make sure they are getting the best deal.

“The Government initiative to regulate fees is a positive step to help support retail businesses and ultimately lower costs for consumers. Retail NZ will be closely reviewing the consultation paper released today by the Government and making a submission.”

Note to editors:  Retail NZ is a not for profit membership organisation representing the retail sector. Its members are both large and small, and account for around two-thirds of total retail turnover in New Zealand. Retail NZ has a preferential rate for its members available through Westpac.

For further information, please contact:
Greg Harford
Chief Executive, Retail NZ
[email protected]
027 243 2842

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