Sneaky ALDI Charges Remind Us To Always Check Credit Card Fees

Supermarket chain ALDI has been taken to task for not making the charges associated with using credit cards and tap and go payments clear enough for customers. Whatever supermarket you favour, it's a reminder that you shouldn't automatically assume any payment mechanism is free of charges.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) investigated ALDI over concerns that it did not make its charges clear. ALDI imposes a 0.5% surcharge for customers who use a credit card. It also imposes the same surcharge for any customer who uses a 'tap and go' card, even if a debit card rather than a credit card is used.

Neither approach is illegal, but customers must be clearly made aware that they apply. In ASIC's investigation, that didn't always happen.

An ASIC review of signage in a select number of ALDI supermarkets found that the 0.5% credit card surcharge was disclosed in some stores by a sign above the registers and, in others, by a sticker at the registers. In two stores, there were no signs or stickers.

For credit card payments where a PIN or signature is used, disclosure of the 0.5% surcharge is made on the credit card terminal screen after customers insert or swipe their card to pay for their purchase. ASIC considered that this was too late, particularly in stores where there was no other disclosure.

ALDI has undertaken to improve signage and educate checkout staff over the fees that apply, so they can warn customers.

While EFTPOS payments from debit cards are generally free, there are exceptions, as this case demonstrates. Woolworths controversially stopped accepting debit credit cards in 2010 before eventually reversing the policy. Some bank accounts also limit the number of fee-free EFTPOS transactions.

So the simple rule? Know what your card allows, and check what the store allows.

ASIC [via SMH]


Comments

    Pretty sure Aldi used to charge 1% for credit card transactions when they first started here. I remember the staff always used to take great pains to point out this surcharge, but as far as I could tell everybody was, like, whatever. They probably got sick of asking, LOL.

    This is good to know, I never really thought about using my debit as the touch and go would charge as a credit card. But it makes sense... oh well I will insert and PIN from now on.

    So if I've been paying for things with Paywave, I've been charged an extra 0.5% without being told?

    Just so people are clear, any time you use Tap and Go/Paywave it is classified as a credit transaction. All surcharges that particular merchant has to credit transactions apply.

      This why Tap and Go/Paywave transactions take a few days to clear in your account as well, because its a credit transaction.

    So if I go and buy $100 of stuff from Aldi, which will usually get you quite a bit, it will cost me 50c to use my paywave. I know this is more about principal but with how much I would have saved buying at Aldi and the ease of using my phone tap and go, I'm not complaining.

    This serves to illustrate the master stoke that 'tap and go' was for Mastercard/Visa. It's moving some consumers away from EFTPOS without them even realising it (eg. people with a debit Mastercard/Visa - it comes out of their savings anyway, even though it's a 'credit' transaction).

    While it's clearly not okay to be hit with a surcharge without being informed, that's the design of the 'tap and go' system. If you use your card normally at Aldi for a Mastercard/Visa purchase, there is a confirmation screen informing you of the surcharge.

    At least the Aldi 0.5% surcharge is fair and presumably close to the actual cost they incur. The airlines are the real shady operators with their fixed $7+ credit card charges....

      https://www.change.org/p/jetstar-drop-your-deceitful-rip-off-8-50-credit-card-surcharge-for-booking-online

    ALDI has undertaken to improve signage and educate checkout staff over the fees that apply, so they can warn customers.

    Perhaps they'd like to educate their checkout staff on Customer Service and Showering. They have some of the rudest and smelliest staff on their checkouts.

    Also, about the subject at hand... If I spend $100 + 50c fee for using my card. Paywave transactions are supposed to be $100 or less. Why doesn't it ask for my pin as it is now $100.50?

    Last edited 20/08/14 8:55 am

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