Review of Card Payments Regulation Box C: Key Differences from the Consultation Paper

The Consultation Paper released in December 2015 contained draft standards for consultation. Following stakeholder submissions and consultation with relevant parties, the Board has modified the standards. The main differences between the draft and final standards are as follows:


  • Compliance: calculation of a scheme's weighted-average interchange fees is based on a rolling average for the year, measured at the end of each quarter, rather than the average for the most recent quarter only. This ensures that variations in payment values and volumes attributable to quarterly seasonal factors are minimised.
  • Coverage of foreign-issued cards acquired in Australia: the draft standards included foreign cards in the benchmark calculation and applied the same ceilings as for domestic transactions. However, at this time the Board has decided not to include these transactions.
  • Incorporation of reporting bilateral interchange fee rates to the Reserve Bank in lieu of publication of these rates; schemes with multilateral fees will still be required to publish their rates. The Bank may publish the average of bilateral fees.


  • The elements of cost of acceptance for permitted surcharges are now slightly broader than in the draft standard (although narrower than in the Bank's 2013 Guidance Note on the existing standards) and take account of discounts and rebates.
  • The definition of ‘permitted surcharge’ comes into effect earlier for ‘large’ merchants (1 September 2016) than it does for other merchants: elements of the existing standard will apply to the latter until 1 September 2017.
  • The obligation in relation to BIN lists has been clarified: it now includes an obligation for schemes to publish rather than merely for acquirers to provide to merchants on request.
  • The Standard clarifies that a scheme or acquirer would not be able to have as a condition of the contract that the merchant must not surcharge or plan to surcharge: this is equivalent to a no-surcharge rule for new merchants.
  • As flagged in the Consultation Paper, the Bank has clarified that surcharging caps in the taxi industry will continue to be applied by state and territory regulators with direct responsibility for taxi regulation: the revised Standard clarifies this to ensure that there is no risk of conflict of law issues arising for state and territory regulation.