THE Consumer Council has welcomed the Reserve Bank's decision to uphold the no surcharge rule for credit and debit card payments.
"The 'No Surcharge Rule' is the accepted practice in the merchant services agreement which prohibits traders charging their customers for using credit/debit cards," council chief executive Premila Kumar said.
"Unfortunately the practice has been used by traders to unfairly make profit from consumers. The surcharge is the 'hidden cost' which the retailers unlawfully impose on consumers who are not aware of this cost when they sign up for debit and credit cards.
"Over the years, Consumer Council has been receiving complaints in this regard where merchants not only charged fees for the use of cards but also imposed a number of restrictions on the use of cards.
"Consumers holding onto credit or debit cards are urged to be vigilant with an expected boost in purchases as we approach the festive season. Consumers must report if they are charged anything more than the advertised price of the goods or services."
Mrs Kumar called on the banks need to be more involved in the monitoring of merchants who they had agreements with for the provision of credit/debit card facilities.
"It is the responsibility of the banks to ensure that merchants do not exploit consumers. Any breach of terms and conditions by the merchant should result in removal of the credit/debit card facility by the banks. This will hurt unscrupulous merchants through reduced customer patronage because consumers prefer using debit and credit card facilities when they shop for obvious reasons," Mrs Kumar said.