Media Release Payments System Issues: Guidance Note for the Varied Surcharging Standards

In June, the Reserve Bank announced the decision to vary the surcharging Standards to allow card scheme rules to limit surcharges to the reasonable cost of card acceptance, effective 1 January 2013. The Bank also published a draft Guidance Note on the varied surcharging Standards. This was in response to indications from a number of interested parties that they would appreciate clarification about the costs that might be included in ‘the reasonable cost of acceptance’.

The feedback that the Bank received on the draft Guidance Note has mostly indicated that the industry sees benefit in a form of guidance that is more prescriptive than that provided in the June draft. Accordingly, at its meeting on 17 August, the Payments System Board decided to revise the Guidance Note. In particular, the Board remains of the view that the costs of card acceptance for many merchants extend beyond the merchant service fee charged by acquirers. However, it wishes to ensure that surcharging is not used as a tool to recover costs that are more appropriately viewed as a broader part of doing business. The Bank also believes that compliance costs and disputes will be reduced by it providing a more detailed view on the costs it considers to be part of the merchant's reasonable cost of card acceptance.

The Bank is giving interested parties an opportunity to comment on the revised draft Guidance Note. Parties wishing to comment should contact the Head of Payments Policy Department by 21 September at:

Head of Payments Policy Department
Reserve Bank of Australia
GPO Box 3947


The Bank intends to publish the final version of the Guidance Note in early October.


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Reserve Bank of Australia

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