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Cash or Card?

The question we are all asked on a daily basis, are you using cash or card? A 2016 Reserve Bank of Australia Consumer Payments Survey revealed “cards were the most frequently used means of payment in the 2016 survey, overtaking cash for the first time” ( However, consumers have been discouraged to use their cards for small purchases with some businesses having a $0.50 surcharge for use of card on purchases under $10.

As of 1 September 2017, it is now illegal for businesses to charge more than the amount it costs them to take a card payment. This means that businesses will no longer be able to add a $0.50 surcharge to a cup of coffee. Typically the cost of debit on Visa or MasterCard is 0.5% of the purchase, cost of credit on Visa or MasterCard is 1-1.5% of the purchase and for American Express 2-3% of the purchase. This means surcharge on a $4.50 cup of coffee will now only be $0.02 for debit card or $0.07-$0.14 for credit card. As of 24 September 2017, the four major banks in Australia; CommBank, Westpac, ANZ and NAB removed the ATM $2 withdrawal fee for non-customers. With increases in card use by consumers, the removal of this bank fee won’t necessarily be much of a loss for these banks when the use of cash is already in decline.

Cash may be more accessible with more ATM’s available at no charge now but the real convenience is being able to tap and go and at a small surcharge of 0.5%-3% of the purchase, there’s no doubt people will not think twice about using card over cash.

Surcharge example by the RBA: (source:

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