Paddy Gower Has Issues: The sneaky Paywave fees costing Kiwis thousands - and how to avoid them

  • 21/06/2023

Sick of surcharges when using Paywave? Karen O'Leary is on the case, and she's got the music to prove it. 

Retailers pay the banks to offer contactless payments and some choose to pass these costs on while others don't, meaning sometimes customers are charged a surcharge for Paywave and sometimes they aren't.

Emma Geange is sick of those surcharges - so she tasked Paddy Gower Has Issues' Community Investigator, Karen O'Leary, with getting rid of them. 

"I'm pissed!" Geange states. "Every place has a different surcharge rate".

O'Leary takes on the issue with her usual enthusiasm but soon learns there is more to the annoying Paywave Surcharges than meets the eye.

Confronting shop owners Roni Patel and Tahir Umar, O'Leary learns if these stores don't add the extra surcharge to the transactions - the banks will still charge them, leading to thousands of dollars of fees paid by the merchants. 

"This isn't the 'gotcha' moment I had hoped for," reveals a disappointed O'Leary.

Following the money trail, the investigation hits a hard dead end when all the banks refuse to sit down and talk to her about the fees. 

Follow Paddy Gower Has Issues on social media:

However, after sitting down with the Chair of the Commerce Commission Dr John Small, Karen discovers banks and credit card companies are able to charge fees on Paywave and contactless transactions because they don't fall under the fee-less EFTPOS agreement. 

"Usually the free one is your EFTPOS card, or if you've got a Visa Debit Card or Mastercard Debit Card and you swipe it or insert it," Small confirms. 

"Are you a taper or an inserter?" O'Leary probes.

"I'm definitely an inserter," laughs the Chair of the Commerce Commission.

Armed with that information, Karen O'Leary determines since the banks and credit card companies will never give up their profits without massive regulation, it's up to her to educate the public and encourage them to swipe and insert at the till whenever possible. 

This leads to a highlight of the Paddy Gower Has Issues show, a full-scale music video performed by O'Leary, titled Swipe It (Real Good) - a parody of 90s hit Push It, by Salt-N-Pepa. 


Take the time to swipe and type 

Slide that card down, nice and tight

Say bye bye fees, and you know the best part is

Never having to pay surcharges 


Swipe it

Swipe it real good 

Swipe it

Swipe it real good 


Swipe it nice and slow, you deserve it

Type your pin in, then confirm it

Swiping feels so good, you've earned it

And if you're feeling freaky, Insert it


Shove it 

Shove it real good

Shove it 

Shove it real good


If you have an issue you want tackled, let Karen know about it by emailing 

Stream Paddy Gower Has Issues in full on ThreeNow.