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EFTPOS charges contested

EFTPOS charges contested

(30 March 2011 – Australia) The Australian Newsagents Federation (ANF) is lobbying the government to fight new retail EFTPOS fee charges. The new multilateral interchange fee model for EFTPOS transactions is estimated to cost consumers and small businesses A$150 million annually, claimed ANF chief executive Alf Maccioni.

"The fees are effectively a new EFTPOS tax on consumers and small businesses," Maccioni said.

Under the new model, merchants will incur a five-cent fee for every EFTPOS transaction over A$15, yet transactions under A$15 will not attract a fee.

"Newsagents will be disproportionately affected by these changes due to our small overall basket sizes and numbers of transactions. The government and banks need to reconsider this proposal that includes no equity or reasonable justification for the cost," he said.

The ANF is concerned that community newsagents will be adversely affected by the new fees, while large retailers Coles and Woolworths will escape the charges.

EFTPOS Payments Australia Limited (EPAL), the company established to manage the EFTPOS debit payments network, features shareholding from the major banks, and Coles and Woolworths who manage their own terminals.

"This completely removes the previously level playing field for Australia’s thousands of small businesses, including our community newsagents. Consumers and small businesses are the ones who will pay for this. Many of them are still recovering from recent natural disasters," he added.

Mr Maccioni has called for the government and the banking sector to address the issue, and has urged all newsagents to contact their local MPs and alert them to the situation.

The new fees will be payable from October 1st 2011.
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