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Shoppers Resent Credit Card Charge - Survey

Media release April 9, 2012

Shoppers Resent Credit Card Charge - Survey

Kiwi shoppers are voting with their feet as many say they'd rather leave their favourite store than pay a credit card surcharge according to a new retail survey*.

The survey, commissioned by public relations agency Impact PR, investigated the habits of Kiwi consumers and their perceptions of having to pay additional credit card surcharges.

The research showed the vast majority (90%) of customers would stop shopping at their regular store if a 3% credit card surcharge was added to their purchase.

Some merchants began introducing the surcharges freely two years ago after credit card companies removed existing restrictions.

But according to the new research there is increasing resentment among customers to the surcharges imposed on those paying by credit card, with nine out of ten Kiwi respondents saying they would shop elsewhere.

Impact PR managing director Fleur Revell says the study sounds a warning to businesses about imposing and also failing to communicate additional charges at the point of purchase.

The Impact PR survey found that almost 9 out of ten (88%) respondents believed retailers adding a credit card surcharge are not adequately communicating enough information about the fee to their customers.

Revell says that inadequate communication leading to 'surprises' at the till is bound to produce some extreme reaction in customers which many businesses will already have experienced.

"The key to minimising this is to ensure customers know as soon as possible in the transaction process that a surcharge exists and the rationale behind it," she says.

Mark Devlin, owner of shopping website, says retailers who add the credit card surcharge are short-sighted.

He says his New Zealand customers have no additional charges of any kind, whether it's for payment by credit card or freight.

"What we may lose in margin we definitely make up for in customer satisfaction and repeat purchase. We wanted to create a 'no surprises' shopping environment where customers could feel confident purchasing a product without having gone through the whole process only to have charges added on the final screen."

Devlin says he understands Kiwi's reluctance to take on additional charges and consumers disdain for additional credit card charges has been mirrored in other markets.

He cites a similar study in Canada which found the introduction of a 3% surcharge would encourage 95% of credit card shoppers to switch stores.


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