Friday, November 27, 2009
U.S. Looks to Australia on Credit Card Fees
Post by David Held
By KEITH BRADSHER
When Steve Franklin bought four plane tickets on Qantas last June, he faced an unexpected expense: a surcharge of 7.70 Australian dollars on each of the 136.70 dollar ($126) tickets — just for using his Visa credit card.
Mr. Franklin, who planned to fly his parents and his 7-year-old twin daughters from Sydney to Adelaide, knew that changes to credit card rules had affected the cost of using plastic, but the extra 5.6 percent seemed excessive.
The charges were the consequence of changes in credit card rules in Australia that were aimed, in part, at reducing the cost of hidden fees for using plastic. But the law, passed six years ago, also allowed merchants to tack on new charges, and many have done just that, in some cases with fees that exceed the old ones.
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