Thursday, April 25, 2024

Aussies back small businesses on debit card fees

New research reveals Australian consumers are overwhelmingly in favour of small businesses being given the ability to choose the cheapest option to process debit card payments through least cost routing (LCR).

According to the new survey, 83% of respondents now think it’s important for merchants to be able to select the lowest cost network. This is an eight-point rise since the previous survey three years ago.

eftpos CEO Stephen Benton says the figure highlights growing public awareness and concern over business costs in the Covid environment.

“The new research shows that Australians clearly recognise and identify with the pressures small businesses face, and the importance of keeping their costs down,” he says.

The cost of debit card fees is now critical to small business because they have replaced cash as by far the most common way to pay in Australia, representing nearly 9 billion and almost 70% of total electronic retail transactions annually.

Publicly supported by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg as a key competitive mechanism to help level the playing field between small businesses and their larger peers with more market power, LCR lets merchants decide what payment ‘rails’ debit card transactions run down based on the lowest cost.

Mr Benton says the research also showed, that when asked about which payments network Australians would prefer to process their online or tap debit card transactions, 66% of consumers have no preference in network or would prefer to use the low-cost Australian eftpos network, rather than international schemes.

Of those that nominated a network preference, eftpos was the preference for 28%, with Visa and Mastercard only being preferred by 20% and 15% respectively.

The vast majority cardholders (91%) believe merchants processing via the eftpos network would not have a negative impact on their payment experience online or instore.

The research findings echo ongoing public support expressed via an online petition on LCR, which has now been signed by over 15,000 people.

The petition is supported by a leading group of influential industry organisations including the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association, Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association, Council of Small Business Organisations Australia, and the Franchise Council of Australia.

The petition is supported by a leading group of influential industry organisations including the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia, Franchise Council of Australia, MGA Independent Retailers, and National Retail Association.

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