FROM AFTA’s chief executive, Jayson Westbury
As SPRING falls upon us, so too does the full extent of the changes to the Credit Card Surcharging rules. Effective 01 Sep, all “merchants” who accept credit cards may only surcharge the consumer the amount that it “costs” them to provide the service.
Now if you have been kidnapped by a foreign government, stuck in a snow storm, on a cruise ship with no internet or under a rock for the past six months, you may find this all comes as a bit of a surprise. But the simple fact is that AFTA has been talking about this change for months and months.
It is now time for travel businesses to come to terms with these new rules. The best way to get a full understanding is to CLICK HERE. This advice has been prepared to help travel agents understand what the new rules are, how they work and how to apply them to your business. There are many moving parts and your bank or acquirer has all the information you need to properly calculate what you should be charging consumers. And, if you are still not sure, AFTA remains at your service to assist. We have in the past week had more calls to the office on this subject that anything before it. It is nice to talk to so many members, we just wish that this subject could be simpler than it is. All of this made a little more complex by various high powered politicians attempting to send out “get well” cards to consumers in an attempt to make what is basically flawed legislation look better than it really is.
The simple fact is that before the changes were made by the government to this legislation, travel businesses could surcharge. In most cases an average rate across all card types was used. And for the best part of the industry the travel business took the good with the bad, and in some cases they were up a little or otherwise down a little.
The mathematics of all of that did not amount to enormous amounts of money. Some of the politicians involved are now saying that we all made hundreds of thousands of dollars out of credit card surcharging and as such we had to have these new rules. The result, most travel businesses have been around the block and back and found that the rate they will be charging is around about exactly what they were charging beforehand. The only difference is that they have spent hours on red tape and spreadsheets to work it all out.
In a glass half full mindset, at least, the travel industry can continue to surcharge credit cards, which in the low margin high transaction value environment in which we trade, is critical.
So I hope that all the Travel Daily readers who run travel businesses have managed to find the information they need to get this right and we can all return to business as usual as soon as we can.
Oh, and remember, if you want to get involved in the new AFTA Insolvency Chargeback Scheme (AICS) which supports the new credit card surcharging situation, simply CLICK HERE.