Campaign launched to see businesses eliminate payment surcharges once and for all

A collective of leading Australian retailers, business associations and advocates today launched Surcharge Free . It is a national movement urging businesses across the country to end payment surcharges. The move follows the Government’s announcement it would be looking to target the worst offenders, and precedes news expected this week from the RBA Payment Systems Board around card payments regulation.

The campaign is designed to raise national awareness of the positive impact not surcharging payments has on businesses, and in doing so hopes to see more businesses end this business practice and pledge their support to the movement.

Australians consider not being surcharged as an important factor when considering repeat business and a third of consumers rate not being surcharged as extremely important to their impression of a business. 93 percent of consumers want to see surcharges removed altogether and almost 75 percent of people will encourage friends and family to boycott a business because it surcharges.

Spearheaded by consumer advocate and campaigner Christopher Zinn, Surcharge Free is designed to raise national awareness of the positive impact that not surcharging payments has on businesses. Consumers pay $1.6 billion Australians on surcharges each year.

“For as long as I can remember, consumers have been vocal about their negative feelings toward being charged extra simply because of how they’ve decided to pay. Surcharges are not a cost passed on to consumers in many other parts of the world, so why should Australians be expected to pay them?” said Zinn.

“Surcharge Free encourages businesses to focus on the bigger picture of the customer experience. The reality is the damage caused by imposing a surcharge can far exceed the costs associated with processing card payments.”

Research supports the fact that businesses that have already scrapped payment surcharges are ahead of the game and are reaping the rewards through increased customer loyalty. This is also evidenced by the many retailers lending their support to the movement.

Leading retailer, Coco Republic is one Australian business rallying behind Surcharge Free.

Speaking about the company’s support, Paul Spon-Smith, founder and chairman of Coco Republic, said, “For Coco Republic, our decision not to surcharge is part of the exceptional customer service we strive to deliver. The reality is that surcharging creates a point of negativity in the customer experience. We don’t believe it sends the right message and it is why we’re proud to be part of the Surcharge Free movement.”

“While the Federal Government has moved to cap excessive payment surcharges, the reality is they have not gone far enough. Some businesses may perceive this as permission for them to surcharge, as long as they don’t do it excessively, failing to realise the consequences introducing a surcharge will have on their business,” continued Zinn.

Surcharge Free is backed by American Express and proudly supported by a collective of leading Australian retailers, business associations and advocates including the National Retail Association, Retail Doctor Group and Hair and Beauty Australia. High-profile retailers and businesses including Platinum Restaurant Group, Germanicos and THE ICONIC line up alongside Coco Republic in pledging their support.

“We want Australians to spend their hard-earned cash on the things they want to buy, not on inflated surcharge service fees. Although the NRA respects the right of retailers to recoup legitimate operating costs, we strongly recommend they should be recovered as part of the total cost of the goods or service, like all other legitimate business overheads. Through Surcharge Free we aim to turn the tide on this outdated, regressive, and harmful business practice once and for all. Brands need to provide Australians with the experiences they deserve to remain relevant and competitive in the current market,” said Ian Winterburn, CEO of the National Retail Association.

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Chloe Potvin
Chloe Potvin is the former small business editor for Kochie's Business Builders.