Retail NZ has welcomed Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Hon. David Clark’s announcement today that the Government will move to regulate merchant service fees, which retailers pay when customers use credit or contactless debit cards.
The new regulations will set limits on the interchange level that card schemes can charge merchants, and allows a regulator to impose additional pricing principles or limits on fees on other components of the overall merchant service fee.
The regulator can also impose compulsory information disclosure requirements bringing much needed transparency to merchant service fees.
“For far too long New Zealanders have been paying high merchant fees and it is fantastic news that the government is finally moving to bring us in line with other countries that pay significantly less,” says Retail NZ Chief Executive Greg Harford.
“Minister Clark is moving decisively to set firm limits on maximum interchange charges, and this will come into effect quickly. However, we note that there are other charges included in the overall merchant service fee charged to merchants.”
Harford says additionally, e-commerce, and Buy Now Pay Later services, as well as mobile wallets incur even higher charges. Retail NZ hope that the new regulator will use its powers to review and bring these fees down as appropriate.
“We have been advocating for merchant service fees to come down in New Zealand for many years, and this is a really good step forward. It is a serious issue that affects all New Zealanders through the flow on increase to the price of goods and services.
“It is fundamentally unfair that the high cost of payments is borne by all New Zealanders through higher prices, and that only cardholders with valuable rewards programmes see any benefit.”
Retail NZ say they will be carefully reviewing the documents released today, and look forward to providing further input as the final details are worked through over the coming weeks.