ARGUING THE CASE: Scott Morrison.
ARGUING THE CASE: Scott Morrison. LUKAS COCH

New laws to target excessive credit card charges

COMPANIES that slug consumers with "excessive" credit card surcharges could face $108,000 fines under laws passed this week.

They give the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission the power to enforce an already legislated ban on the practice.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said if the consumer watchdog believed a merchant had engaged in the practice, it would issue a fine up to $108,000 for each individual contravention of the ban.

Consumer advocate group Choice backed the changes, saying it could end a practice that was common among firms such as airlines, concert ticketing companies and taxi firms.

Choice has previously criticised Qantas for its $7 card surcharge on cheap flights - almost 350% more than the cost of the transaction - and Jetstar's $8.50 surcharge, a mark-up of almost 1200%.

Although the Senate passed the laws on Monday, it rejected a Greens bill to put an end to ATM fees of $2 or more for customers accessing their own funds from different banks.



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