Banks should foot the card charge bill

Our story on Tuesday, ‘Retailers bear the cost burden’ received a fantastic response from readers, mostly suggesting that retailers should continue to foot the bill for card transactions.

As a former shopkeeper, who conducted a general store, cafe and newsagency under the one roof, I am concerned that far too many people out there appear to be uninformed about the actual process and how it is the retailer who is actually slugged.

Firstly, my business turned over around $100,000 per month, employing 8 to 10 staff, mainly part-time, and I was forced to pay over $600 per month in transaction fees to the ‘beautiful Commonwealth Bank’. That’s right more than $600, which I believe is outrageous – more than one week’s rent! In other words, I would cringe when a customer, lovely one at that, would pick up a paper for $1.50, tap their card and be gone, probably costing me more than my profit on the paper.

Secondly, may I say that some retailers do charge their customers for the use of EFTPOS, credit facilities, tap-and-go etc which I believe is totally wrong and is putting the onus back on the customer to pay the bill. It’s a fact of life that the retailer has to grin and bear the burden, not try and pass it on over the counter.

Thirdly, I am not aware of many retailers who actually add the cost onto the price of the product they are selling. It would be difficult, for instance, for Joe Bloggs to charge $4.75 (including card charges) for his coffee when his opposition around the corner is charging $4.50 for the same size coffee and copping the card charge hit in the pocket. Anyway it is not the customer’s fault that they live in 2017 and don’t bother to carry cash or change when it is more convenient to carry their card.

At a time when the Government is conducting a Royal Commission into the banks it would be a great opportunity for the Australian Retailers Association to let them know that the Average Joe trying to run a small business in this country is being seriously disadvantaged by the advent of modern technology ie the replacement of cash over the counter by card transactions. And, it will only get a whole lot worse for the retailer as cash quickly disappears from the new world we live in.