The corporate regulator has taken supermarket chain Aldi to task, accusing it of not adequately advising customers of its credit card surcharges.
Aldi levies a 0.5 per cent surcharge on all credit card payments, including tap-and-go transactions using a debit card.
Following a consumer complaint, an Australian Securities and Investments Commission investigation found two Aldi stores had no signage advising of the charge, while other stores had either a sign above or a sticker on the registers.
The supermarket’s card terminals advised shoppers of the surcharge after shoppers swiped their cards, which ASIC considered is too late, particularly where there was no signage advising of the charge.
The corporate regulator was especially concerned that there was no specific disclosure at Aldi stores that all contactless payment transactions – credit or debit – would also be subject to the surcharge.
ASIC says the supermarket chain has now agreed to extra signage at the entrance to its stores and at the cash register, as well as other measures, to ensure customers are informed.
The regulator says Aldi was quick to cooperate with it when it raised its concerns, and ASIC’s deputy chairman Peter Kell says he hopes other retailers take note.
“Merchants need to be transparent about fees and charges where credit card surcharges apply so that consumers can consider using other payment methods without any additional costs,” he said.
“For example, at ALDI stores, payment by EFTPOS by selecting the ‘savings’ or ‘cheque’ option does not attract a surcharge.
“Consumers should also be mindful that payments by contactless or ‘tap-and-go’ cards are currently treated as credit card transactions, meaning that fees may apply where there are surcharges in place, even where they are using a debit card.”