A DECISION on credit card surcharge fees will be made this month, the central bank announced yesterday.
And the decision which followed months' of public submissions to the Reserve Bank of Fiji will be a difficult one to make, governor Barry Whiteside said.
The review will consider the regulatory option of either allowing or disallowing surcharges, he said.
The decision will be made after the bank's board of directors meeting later this month.
The bank said in a statement that it carried out a preliminary investigation following a spate of complaints that led to a preliminary investigation and confirmed that there was uncertainty and inconsistency in the application of surcharging.
"This was driven in a large part by experience in our neighboring countries particularly Australia where there are specific regulations issued by the Reserve Bank of Australia to allow surcharging and as such the practice entered the Fijian market," the bank said.
At the time, credit cards could only be applied through Fiji bank branches of ANZ and Westpac but were issued out of Australia, the RBF said.
Mr Whiteside said experience and regulatory stance varied from country to country because of their respective set of domestic circumstances, market and consumer developments and preferences.
He said regulatory authorities with such powers would intervene in any payment system operating in a country to correct anomalies and the inconsistency and confusion in Fiji surrounding legitimacy of credit card surcharging justifies a regulatory response.
"There is also a need to ensure that what the credit card providers or commercial banks charge the retailers for acquiring ability are reasonable as the recently publicised court decision in the United States illustrates.
"It is clear that all players in the process benefit from a credit card payments — the international card schemes, the credit card providing commercial banks, the retailers and the credit card holder," the bank said.
The RBF said it was evident that credit card holders already shouldered hefty costs associated with the product and applying a further surcharge could be considered as overlapping.