The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has indicated that merchant fees need to be capped and regulated.

The decision comes following the RBA initiating a public consultation in June on potential changes to the standards relating to merchant surcharging.
In light of the submissions made, the RBA said the proposed variation will allow scheme rules to limit surcharges to a reasonable cost of acceptance, while still ensuring that merchants cannot be prevented from fully recovering their costs.

“The need for this change arises because in recent years some surcharging practices that potentially compromise price signals, such as surcharging in excess of card acceptance costs, have become more widespread,” RBA said in a statement.

“The Board believes that the proposed variation will improve the efficiency of the payments system by providing better price signals to cardholders.”
According to the RBA, the changes will help improve efficiencies of the payments system but highlights it may not address all surcharging practices that are viewed by the public as being of concern."

Formal written submissions on the specific form of the proposed variations are due by 10 February 2012.