Cost of acceptance and surcharging

Frequently Asked Questions

Cost of acceptance and surcharging

Frequently Asked Questions

Cost of Acceptance and Surcharging explained


The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has established changes to card payments regulations banning excessive payment and surcharges and providing new powers for the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). This new standard affects the amount that merchants can surcharge for card transactions. 

Where can I find my Cost of Acceptance information?

Your monthly Cost of Acceptance (COA) information is provided in your monthly merchant statements, with annual COA in your end of financial year statement.

What is my Cost of Acceptance

Your Cost of Acceptance (COA) is the cost you incur to accept card payments through your EFTPOS terminal. Your COA is calculated for each card type.

Types of cards include:

  • Visa (credit, debit & prepaid cards)
  • Mastercard (credit, debit & prepaid)
How is my Cost of Acceptance calculated?

Your Cost of Acceptance (COA) is calculated over a specified time period; either a month or year. This calculation includes costs such as your merchant service fees and any terminal fees. Your COA is expressed as a percentage of your net sales.

How much can I surcharge?

You may surcharge customers (who pay by card) up to your cost of acceptance. This information can be found on your monthly statements.

I have multiple stores at different locations, what can I surcharge?

Your cost of acceptance is calculated per merchant number. If you own a franchise or have multiple stores, you can average the surcharge rate across your stores per card type, so long as all stores are under the same legal entity.

Please note that you cannot average the cost of acceptance per individual merchant number and surcharge using the average of all card types.

What should I surcharge if I’m a new merchant?

Monthly Cost of Acceptance (COA) information will be available on your first merchant statement. For the period where COA is not available, you can choose not to surcharge or surcharge at a rate that is deemed reasonable* for the month.

*A reasonable surcharge is a rate no higher than what it costs you to process a transaction.

Can I factor other costs into my Cost of Acceptance calculation?

You may incur costs from other service providers which are eligible for inclusion in your cost of acceptance. Other costs which are eligible for inclusion include:

  • Fraud prevention services
  • The cost of insuring against forward delivery risk

These costs must be able to be verified by contracts, statements or invoices issued by the service provider(s). 

You cannot include any of your own internal costs when calculating your COA (for example, labour or electricity costs).

What happens if my card surcharge(s) does not reflect my Cost of Acceptance?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is empowered to enforce compliance with this Surcharging Standard. The ACCC may take action against any merchant whose card surcharge exceeds its cost of acceptance.

Can I impose one surcharge on all payment types?

Yes, you must set the surcharge at the level of the lowest cost of acceptance across all card types.

Please note: Surcharging rules does not allow you to surcharge an average of the percentages shown under the Avg. Cost Per Transaction (%) column.

How can I differentiate what is an EFTPOS transaction and what is credit?

Debit transactions are processed when the card holder uses an EFTPOS card or Scheme debit card and selects CHQ or SAV.

Credit transactions are processed when the card holder selects credit on the terminal and often when cards are tapped on the terminal.

What happens if I continue to surcharge at my own rates?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been given powers to enforce compliance. There are regulatory consequences if you surcharge above your cost of acceptance. For more information visit the Payments System Regulation page at

CALL SALES 1800 433 876
CALL SUPPORT 1800 433 876