What to Know: Cost of Acceptance

What is cost of acceptance?

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has established card payments regulations banning excessive payment and surcharges and providing powers for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). This standard affects the amount that merchants can surcharge for card transactions. Read on below to learn more about cost of acceptance and what this can mean for your business.

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)


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.

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 ACCC is empowered to enforce compliance with this surcharging standard. The ACCC may take action against any business (also referred to as a “merchant”) whose card surcharge exceeds its cost of acceptance.

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

The 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 www.rba.gov.au.

Want more information?

RBA information

RBA standards for surcharging
RBA Questions & Answers for surcharging

ACCC Information

ACCC’s information on surcharging
ACCC’s Questions & Answers

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