Major banks still ‘feeding’ off small businesses


Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell has expressed concern that despite promises made, the major banks have not implemented the least-cost routing of their tap-and-go payments for debit cards.

Carnell said, “The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics recommended banks introduce this by 1 April this year and we are still waiting for any action.”

“The National Australia Bank and ANZ promised to roll out the changes this year, and here we are with just 20 days left of 2018 and no action,” said the Ombudsman.

“The Commonwealth Bank of Australia committed to the changes but didn’t give a timeline.

“At least Westpac confirmed it will offer least-cost routing to its business customers in 2019, but it did not confirm if it will happen in the first or second half of the year.”

The average total merchant fee for a debit transaction is 0.26% with EFTPOS and 0.58% for Visa or Mastercard, and it’s higher for small businesses.

“So there’s a nice bit of revenue for the banks over the last nine months and another example of their pursuit of profit,” said Carnell.

“We need to see some action by the banks, who still need to rebuild trust and confidence with Australian small businesses.”