FANTASTIC PLASTIC: So many cards, so many choices where to use them.
FANTASTIC PLASTIC: So many cards, so many choices where to use them. AAP

Hidden costs when paying with card

RECENTLY a friend suggested we catch up over a coffee and suggested a local café.

"Nope, anywhere but there," I said. "I'm boycotting that place."

When my friend asked why, I explained that for the first year of opening, this café only took cash.

That's their right, but when you are out walking the dog on a weekend you don't really want to carry cash or coins, and it is a very popular spot with cyclists on a weekend, which meant they had to do the same. After many months of requests from customers, the café finally got EFTPOS, and introduced a $1 fee for all EFTPOS and credit card/paywave transactions.

I went in, saw they had EFTPOS and ordered my $4 coffee....which then became $5.

Now don't get me wrong here, I realise that there are bank fees associated with having an EFTPOS terminal in a small business, I'm happy to pay a little extra, but after investigating I learned that most banks charge between 0.5% to a maximum of 1.5%.

So on a $4 coffee, that means to use my card costs the café a maximum fee of six cents.

So where do they get 100 cents from?

Now you can say 'its only a dollar', but the truth is that no matter where you go, every pub, café or shop has a different 'minimum amount for EFT' sign or a set fee for using cards.

It's all over the place, and there is no consistency.

So here's the maths.

Five coffees a week equates to $1040 a year, which becomes $1300 if using a card. Multiply that $260 'transaction fee' each year by just 20 customers a day, and that's a lot of dough.

Just last week I went to a pub in West End to buy a couple of drinks, and there was a $20 minimum spend for EFT or a 50-cent fee.

At the café I went to yesterday, no minimum spend, no EFT fees.

It's just odd that we all put up with it and there seems to be no regulation on card fees in this country where you can't jump on a trampoline without someone making you watch a 25-minute health and safety demonstration.

So now I go to one of several cafes for my coffee in the morning that have no fee to use my card, and believe me, there are tons of them across Ipswich who do great food and even better coffee.

Am I being too harsh on a small business or am I just exercising my right to choose where I spend my money?

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