With the difficult trading period already turning consumers off from shopping, they may further be affected with planned changes to eftpos fees.

From October, eftpos Payments Australia (ePAL) will pass the 5 cent interchange fee from consumers’ financial institutions to the banks of retailers. This will mean that the 5 cent fee will be charged to the retailer’s financial institution for every transaction over $15, except at Coles and Woolworths.

Tyro Payments CEO Jost Stollmann said many consumers do not realise the impact of the changes as the banks pass on those costs it will affect small businesses and ultimately these costs will be passed onto them.

“Small business and acquirers have invested significantly in deploying 700,000 EFTPOS terminals across Australia, for the convenience of customers, but it will be the banks who stand to make a lot of money from these changes,” he said.

“Consumers and small businesses could be worse off and banks will be better off.”

However, ePAL has rejected claims that either Australian consumers or retailers would be slugged with new charges following the planned changes to the popular debit system.

“The changes to eftpos include an incentive for retailers to accept eftpos for purchases under $15, potentially making minimum eftpos amounts a thing of the past, and will not result in any increase in consumer bank fees. That’s very good news for consumers,” Bruce Mansfield, ePAL managing director, said.

“For retailers eftpos is and will continue to be many times cheaper than other cards. We offer retailers a fair, low-cost debit payment alternative to Visa and MasterCard, and that will remain.