THE Consumer Council of Fiji has welcomed the Reserve Bank of Fiji's call to maintain the practice of not placing surcharges on credit cards.
This follows the bank's call for consultations on the issue after noticing merchants were still surcharging customers on credit card transactions.
Council CEO Premila Kumar said they had received complaints about credit and debit card users being surcharged by traders.
"The extra surcharge levied on credit and debit cards by merchants is definitely unfair on consumers and is becoming a profit-making mechanism for retailers," Mrs Kumar said.
She said when consumers applied for credit cards, they were only informed of the application fee, annual fee and interest.
"The 'hidden cost' which the retailer imposes are not disclosed and credit card users have not signed up to such charges, this is where consumers lose out and may have very little say in the end," Mrs Kumar said.
However, she said there was still more the RBF could do to stop the unfair charges.
"It is equally important to remove unfair surcharges levied on debit card charges. Fiji has a higher use of debit cards than credit cards and many consumers use EFTPOS out of convenience and security," she said. "There are cases in which retailers charge as much as $1.50 on debit card usage for single transactions." She said it was baffling why credit card providers did not take action against businesses that impose excessive surcharges on customers because the is not by the Merchant Service Agreement.