Ask LH: Can My Local Pizza Shop Charge Me For Using EFTPOS?

Hi Lifehacker, The local pizza shop charged me an extra dollar for using EFTPOS even though it was a savings account. I understand a 1 per cent surcharge for credit card but this seems excessive. Is this legal? Thanks, Pizza Penalty

Pizza picture from Shutterstock

Dear PP,

There are guidelines around credit card surcharges — specifically that businesses can recover "reasonable" costs associated with using credit cards — but the same rules don't apply to EFTPOS purchases, as we've noted previously. It's also worth noting that smaller businesses often carry a heavier burden for accepting electronic payments due to the lower scale they offer banks, which can often lead to higher costs being passed on to customers.

So yes, as far as I can ascertain (disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer) is that it is indeed legal as long as it's disclosed prominently upfront. Having said that, $1 does seem like a relatively high surcharge in percentage terms unless you're buying a lot of pizza, so the sensible advice here would be to hit an ATM before you head in, or possibly take your business elsewhere.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    My understand of this law, is that a outlet cannot charge you for using eftpos if it is not advertised, and they cannot set a limit! So if its 40 cents they cannot stop you from using EFTPOS, but I have not been in retail for years, so these laws may have changed

    Or alternatively - speak to the pizza shop about it. Business owners are legitimately interested in customer feedback. Is this a recent change? When you consider the options, its not the worst one. They could have upped the cost for pizzas by a dollar across the board, but instead they are working on a per transaction basis. There might also be other reasons they are trying to discourage EFTPOS use. If it wasnt legal, what would you do? demand your dollar back? call the cops?
    In the end- you knew it was a dollar, and did it anyways. So the price gate doesn't seem too high.

    Small local pizza shop?

    They would be losing out on the small fee the bank charges (0.5% or so) and also on the GST they would keep for themselves if it was a cashy and misses the till.

    Last edited 13/06/14 2:22 pm

    My local pub charges $3.85 to use their ATM!! My mate used it and couldn't stop babbling about 385. Then it was my turn and I soon discovered what then 385 hoo-ha was about! Shame my mate could not explain before I used it! This was on $4 schooner night to add more insult to injury! Ouchee-mama!!!!

    As a small business owner the bank charges me:
    $25 per month for the terminal
    $0.26 per EFT (savings or cheque)
    0.8% on visa / mastercard
    In my case it goes down in the books as a cost of doing business.

    So I'd consider $1 to be a little excessive. I'd say he is making a handsome amount just on that charge alone. Look at any pizza place on a Friday / Sat night...and I wonder if he is telling the ATO about the "fees" he is collecting, including the gst on the "service". I doubt it.

      I agree with you Baggyone72 a $1 EFTPOS charge is a bit steep and in my opinion a bit of a waste of good will towards the customer.

      I too ran a shop (a bookstore) and was charged a fee for the terminal and a small fee per transaction. Each bank has a different fee for EFTPOS but never more that 30c. It was far fairer to the client to hide the charges in the price of the item than to try to extract the fee at the point of sale. As for the credit card companies I negotiated a very low fee for VISA and AMEX and whist this was built in to the price of every book, I offered a 1.5% discount (the cost of the credit card surcharge) if they chose to use cash. It puts the customer in a position to feel like they are winning at the point of sale and thus leave with a smile.

      The business model that annoys me the most is the "$10 minimum" spend, just to use EFTPOS. It is unnecessary; get a better accountant or business adviser.

        Our business pays similar fees to the bank. Whilst I also despise the $10 minimum, I can see why they do that. The business might have ascertained that to justify the additional 25c cost, their revenue must be minimum $10 so their profit margin remains the same.

        That being said, most business owners have seen the $10 sign elsewhere and have just gone with that amount without proper research.

        P.S bank fees are only going to go higher as tap and go, and NFC payments become mainstream. Banks are going to have a party over these charges.

    I was charged about $1.50 for using EFTPOS at local pizza shop once. I wasn't told over the phone, nor was there any sign or mention of it in the shop. I was hungry and didn't want to stand there arguing about it so I just never gave my business to that shop again.

    I believe the interchange fees are $0.00 on transactions below $15 dollars... according to the ePAL website, a change that occured in late 2012.

      But the banks still charge the fee regardless.

    I would have thought that there were higher costs handling cash than with EFTPOS.?

    You've got to count it, store it, transport it, run the risk of someone stealing it.

    I say we should be getting a discount for using EFTPOS.

    Don't have eftpos.... loose my business. I hate carrying cash.

    I never understood the additional charges, yes, it costs the company money to provide the service, but it's part of the cost of doing business and actually providing convenience to the customer.

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