The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) recently defined a new surcharging standard, which comes into effect for ALL merchants from 1 September 2017.

The purpose of the standard is to stop merchants from charging a customer more than what it costs merchants to accept a type of card for a transaction – known as ‘Cost of Acceptance’. Your acceptable costs are limited to the fees you pay us and certain other observable costs paid to third parties if the costs are directly related to accepting particular types of cards.

From July 2017, First Data will provide merchants with information outlining the cost of acceptance per card scheme.

If you do not currently surcharge, and have no intention of starting, this change will not affect you. Each month you will receive a Cost of Acceptance table but you don’t need to do anything with this information.

If you do surcharge you will need to ensure the surcharge applied does not exceed your cost of acceptance for that card scheme as allowed under the RBA surcharging standard.  The total cost of acceptance can be calculated based on the data within the table we send to you and if applicable, other costs allowed under the RBA surcharging standard.

If you’re already surcharging, we recommend you review your current surcharge based on the information that has been provided in your Cost of Acceptance table and any additional costs allowed under the RBA standard. 

Currently there is no change to your statement.  We will be sending your cost of acceptance table separately.  From September 2017, all merchant statements issued by First Data will contain a cost of acceptance table.

eftpos (debit and prepaid)
MasterCard & Visa (credit, debit and prepaid)
American Express “companion cards” (American Express cards issued through a bank)

NB: You will receive a statement directly from Amex detailing Cost of Acceptance

Other payment types NOT covered by the standard

BPAY                               JCB
PayPal                             Union Pay
Diners Club                    Cash and Cheque
American Express (cards issued directly by American Express)


If you choose to implement a surcharge on a payment method covered by the standard, the amount of the surcharge must not exceed your ‘cost of acceptance’ for that payment method. The cost of acceptance provided to you by us will be shown as a percentage figure amount.

The fees included are:

  • merchant service fees
  • fees paid for the rental and maintenance of payment card terminals
  • any other fees incurred in processing card transactions, including cross-border transaction fees, switching fees, and fraud related chargeback fees (but not the cost of any actual chargebacks).

You can also choose to pass on additional permissible costs.  If you do, you are required to calculate the permitted surcharge yourself.

Additional permissible costs paid to other providers are:

  • gateway fees paid to a payment service provider
  • the cost of fraud prevention services paid to an external provider
  • any fees paid for the rental or maintenance of card terminals paid to a provider other than us or payment facilitator
  • the cost of insuring against forward delivery risk.

These must be able to be verified by contracts, statements or invoices.

Businesses cannot include any of their own internal costs when calculating their surcharges (for example, labour or electricity costs).

Each month we will provide you a cost of acceptance for that trading month.  We will accumulate these figures for each month that you have been trading with us and provide you an average cost of acceptance for that period.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have been assigned powers to monitor and ensure merchants are not surcharging in excess of their cost of acceptance.

American Express issue their own statements that will include the cost of acceptance calculation separately. 

N/A = Not Applicable.  This occurs when there is not enough data to provide a realistic calculation for cost of acceptance.

There's no need to update the surcharging on the terminal each month. If you choose to surcharge, you are required to use the “Most recent 12 months” percentages. You also need to ensure that the surcharge for each card scheme does not exceed your cost of acceptance for that card scheme as advised on your statement, in addition to any other costs allowed under the RBA surcharging standard.

If you’re already surcharging, we recommend you review and amend these based on the Cost of Acceptance table provided in your statement. It’s further recommended that you use the 12 month Cost of Acceptance from your June statement, which covers the financial year July 2016 to June 2017.

The Cost of Acceptance is calculated by dividing the value of sales into the value of fees, to arrive at a percentage, for each of the schemes. There are also additional fees reported on your statement (e.g. Terminal Fees, Imprinter Fees, etc.) which aren't specific to any particular scheme. These are apportioned based on the value of sales processed for each scheme and card type.

Further information relating to the RBA Payment Systems Regulation Standard 3 is online.

Reserve Bank of Australia                              

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission


Merchant Sales Enquiries

Tel: 1800 655 204

Merchant Support Enquiries

Tel: 1800 243 444