We told you a couple of weeks ago that new regulations in place from March 18 would mean that airlines and other companies couldn't impose excessive surcharges when you paid by credit card, but it would be up to the credit card companies to force them to follow the rules. Visa has already said that it will tell merchants not to charge excessive amounts, but actually making that process have an impact will take a while.
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The new Reserve Bank rules don't say that companies can't impose the surcharge, but do require it to be "reasonable". The typical merchant service fee imposed is under 1 per cent, but the levels charged by airlines and taxi companies are often much higher. Even allowing for staff processing, it's hard to see any justification for the fees.
Visa Australia says it will examine charges imposed by major retailers and force those over-charging to comply. However, that won't happen instantly, even though we've known about the rules for months. "It will take a little time for retailers to review the new rules and implement them," Visa Australia country manager Vipin Kalra said in a media statement. "We will monitor the situation closely to see what effect the changes have on surcharging levels."