About surcharging

  • The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) enforces card payment regulations that limit the amount merchants can surcharge for card transactions. You can surcharge customers (who pay by card) up to your Cost of Acceptance for that card type, which you can find on your monthly merchant statements. Once you’ve determined your Cost of Acceptance for each card type, you can enable and manage surcharging for your CommBank EFTPOS terminal.

Cost of Acceptance

  • What it covers

    Your Cost of Acceptance is the amount it costs you to accept a payment from a particular type of card, including but not limited to:

    • Visa (credit and debit/prepaid cards)
    • Mastercard (credit and debit/prepaid cards)
    • EFTPOS
    • UnionPay




  • How it's calculated

    It’s calculated over a time period, either a month or year, expressed as a dollar amount as well as a percentage of your net sales. The calculation includes costs like merchant service fees, interchange and scheme fees, terminal fees, eCommerce authorisation fees and other costs that you incur for accepting cards.

    You must be able to verify these costs by official contracts, statements or invoices. They may be added to the Cost of Acceptance information provided by CommBank when determining your allowable surcharge rate.

  • Where to find it

    Monthly Cost of Acceptance information, including the costs for each card type, is provided in your monthly merchant statements. Annual Cost of Acceptance is provided in your June merchant statement.

Frequently asked questions

  • Your Cost of Acceptance is calculated per merchant number
  • If you own a franchise or have multiple stores, you can average the surcharge rate across your stores per card type, so long as all stores are under the same legal entity
  • You’re unable to average the Cost of Acceptance per individual merchant number and surcharge using the average of all card types

Surcharging isn't compulsory. If you decide to surcharge in the future, you'll need to make sure you follow the rules by not surcharging more than it costs you to process card transactions.

Monthly Cost of Acceptance information will be available on your first merchant statement. For the period where Cost of Acceptance isn't available, you can choose not to surcharge or to surcharge at a rate that is deemed reasonable for the month. A reasonable surcharge is a rate no higher than what it costs you to process a transaction.

You should only have to review the level of surcharge once a year using your annual Cost of Acceptance information. If this isn’t available (because you’re a new merchant), your business is seasonal, or your transactions change from month to month, you can change your surcharge limit on a monthly basis using your monthly statements.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) may take action against any merchant whose card surcharge exceeds its Cost of Acceptance. For more information, refer to the links below.

Your Cost of Acceptance is shown as N/A when there isn’t enough information to calculate your Cost of Acceptance. This may occur if you’re a new merchant or your facility has been inactive for some time.

Yes, but you must set the surcharge at the level of the lowest Cost of Acceptance across all card types. Surcharging rules don't allow you to surcharge an average of the percentages shown under the (%) of net sales column.

The regulations don't prevent you from imposing a payment surcharge as a flat or fixed fee, but it may be easier for you to apply a surcharge as a percentage because in most cases payment costs are charged in percentage terms.

When surcharging with a flat or fixed fee, make sure the amount of the surcharge doesn't exceed your Cost of Acceptance for any given transaction. You should also be careful when imposing a flat fee surcharge where the cost of a transaction is relatively small, as the surcharge is likely to be excessive.

Debit transactions are processed when the card holder uses an EFTPOS key card or Scheme debit card and selects CHQ or SAV. Credit transactions are processed when the card holder selects credit on the terminal and usually when cards are tapped.

Things you should know    

  • As this advice has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances. Please view our Merchant Agreement, Financial Services Guide and Operator and User Guides above.