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Small business ready to rally for a fairer payments system

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

From contactless debit card payments to mobile wallets to ‘buy now, pay later’ products, the way Australians make payments is changing rapidly. Small businesses are often paying the price of this evolving technology in the form of increased merchant fees.

The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia has called a payments summit to explore how we got here and how the payments system can be made fairer for everyone from local convenience store owners to mid-sized retailers.

The summit will take place online on Wednesday 8 December and is free for all to attend. It brings together payments experts and small business leaders to discuss the current payments climate, the impact of recent government reviews, and what needs to change to enable small merchants to effectively compete against the large retailers, who have the buying power to negotiate fees.

Speakers include:

· Alexi Boyd, COSBOA CEO

· Bruce Billson, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

· Mark McKenzie, Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association CEO

· Mangala Martinus, Managing Director at Payments Consulting Network

· Robbie MacDiarmid, Head of Asia Pacific at CMSPI

· Dhun Karai, Partner – Financial Advisory at Grant Thornton

Over the past year, Mangala Martinus from the Payments Consulting Network has helped 100 retailers save more than $3 million in bank fees through initiatives such as routing debit transactions through the cheapest payment network (least cost routing).

“It is unfair that most retailers are paying more than they should, because most businesses have been set up to automatically process multi-network contactless debit card payments across the Visa and Mastercard networks,” Mr Martinus said.

“These are in many cases more expensive than the cheaper Australian eftpos network.

“Least Cost Routing should be mandated as a default for every debit payment – be it in store, online or via mobile. Without question, more needs to be done to support small business lower the cost of accepting payments.”

COSBOA CEO Alexi Boyd said “We’re hoping small businesses and their advisors will join us next week to understand the payments ecosystem and how they’re being impacted by its many moving parts.

“The complexity of the topic can be intimidating and make it easy for the powerful players in this space to obscure the facts.

“We will empower small businesses and their advisors with the knowledge they need to advocate for a fairer system and avoid being ripped off.”

The summit, which is being held as an online event on Wednesday December 8, is free to attend for all those who register at


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