AM co-host Lloyd Burr hits out at 'explosion' of retailers adding Paywave surcharges

  • 29/01/2024

AM co-host Lloyd Burr has hit out at Paywave surcharges, revealing on the show the "tap and gap" fees were his bugbear. 

"Who is charging us to spend our own money? It really irritates me," he asked. 

Burr added it seems like there has been an "explosion" of shops adding the fee to consumers. 

A surcharge is an additional cost that's incurred when shoppers choose a payment method that is more expensive to provide, like credit cards or contactless payments. 

AM has crunched the numbers and this "cost of convenience" adds up to $50.50 a year for someone buying a coffee every weekday. 

First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson joined AM to explain how these surcharges work. He said the cost of delivering this service is not insignificant for credit card companies, banks and retailers. 

"Retailers have to deal with what's called the interchange costs that the credit card companies charge the banks… Also, the businesses have those costs of delivering those services such as the EFTPOS," Wilkinson said. 

He added the banks charge fees for contactless debit card payments. 

Wilkinson said the Commerce Commission could step in if retailers charge too much for their transaction fees. 

"Interestingly, what we've got is a sliding scale of charges, everything from 0.39 for charities right up to two percent if you are using a Visa corporate card. So there's quite a whack there between the two," he said. 

In April 2023, the Commerce Commission warned businesses to lower their surcharge rates for credit card transactions so they're "cost reflective". 

Meanwhile, Consumer NZ had dozens of complaints last year which showed examples of high card surcharges, despite the introduction of the Retail Payment Systems Act in November 2022, which was intended to curb Paywave and credit card charges. 

"Maybe it's just me but it's a little bugbear of mine and I'm going to campaign on it all year," Burr said on AM. 

Watch the full video above.