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Merchant fees for card transactions and other digital transactions area big cost to Australian small businesses. In March 2020, it was estimated that businesses paid $30 million in extra merchant fees due to contactless card transactions going through the international Visa and Mastercard networks. Least cost routing is when digital transactions, including tap-and-go card payments, mobile phone payments, and online payments, are automatically processed (or 'routed') through the network with the lowest cost to the merchant (usually eftpos). Right now, it isn't compulsory and small businesses have to call their bank and jump through hoops to get it implemented.

What's more, some banks are proposing to issue debit cards that don't work on the eftpos network at all. This will force small businesses to route transactions through the more expensive networks, Mastercard and Visa. Customers with debit cards that don't work on eftpos won't be able to get cash out at the check out or get real-time Medicare rebates.


The Reserve Bank of Australia is completing a review of retail payments regulation. Its interim report acknowledges that shifting away from least cost routing and choice on debit cards “would result in a significant lessening of competitive pressure in the debit market and would likely result in an increase in both interchange rates and scheme fees, impacting all merchants”.


Despite this acknowledgement, the RBA isn't recommending any reforms to address  the problem.

We're asking for two things:

  • The lowest cost payment route should be the default for all contactless debit transactions whether consumers tap their card, wave their phone or pay online.

  • Eftpos should be a choice on all debit cards solocal businesses can access what is usually the lowest cost payment optionand consumers continue to have access to services like cash-out at the check-out,and real time Medicare refunds.


How small business owners can help

Write a letter to your local MP using this template.

Sign this petition.

Display campaign posters in your business with a QR code link to sign the petition.

Put up post cards with the QR code at your point of sale.

Post about this on social media.


Campaign materials can be downloaded below. Click the button underneath the image to download a copy.


Suggested wording: "Demand that the Reserve Bank and Federal Government make low-cost payments the default for local businesses".

Link to petition:


Suggested wording: "Don’t risk losing access to cash out when you shop at your local business. Demand that the Reserve Bank and Federal Government keep Australia’s local payment network, eftpos, as a choice on all debit cards."

Link to petition:

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