Independent supermarkets and liquor stores, excluding those run by Woolworths and Coles, have lashed at the increases in eftpos charges for debit and credit cards that will be introduced in coming weeks.

Mark Crutcher, chairman of Independent Grocers of Australia (IGA), said the more consultation is needed before the new eftpos charges are introduced as it would effectively reverse the way currently work, which do not hurt independent retailers or consumers.

“When these changes were first announced we objected but were told the full charges were unlikely to be passed on and it would not happen for some time.  We now learn that the full charges are to be passed on and this will happen in several weeks, not months.  I have members who stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars with this change and be forced to pass this extra cost onto the consumer,” he said.

Similarly, Jos de Bruin, CEO of Master Grocers Australia, said one of his sources believe the changes will see independent retailers face additional eftpos cost of up to 18 per cent.

"One group of independent supermarkets has estimated it faces extra costs which will take about $1 million off its bottom line, while another of our member's EFTPOS costs will rise from about $150 a month to more than $1200," he said.

Crutcher said an level playing field is needed for small to medium grocers so they can compete against the giant chain stores.

“We have been told that the EFTPOS system is expensive to run and needs to be overhauled. So why not work with us and negotiate a solution rather than impose a solution that will potentially cripple the independent sector and make the big chains bigger. It is time for common sense,” he said.