Qantas bows to card fee pressure

Qantas has cut the cost of paying for tickets by debit and credit cards following pressure from card providers and consumer groups.

Qantas has cut the cost of paying for tickets by debit and credit cards following pressure from card providers and consumer groups.

The biggest reduction to Qantas' booking fees will be for Visa and MasterCard debit cards.

The cost of using them to book a fare will fall by about 60 per cent for domestic and international flights.

Fees for credit-card payments on domestic and trans-Tasman flights will drop by about 10 per cent. But Qantas is leaving unchanged its $30 credit-card surcharge for international bookings.

While more people are using debit cards, most still book tickets using credit cards.

Consumer group Choice said it wanted Qantas to reduce credit card surcharges further so they were in line with processing costs.

"Qantas has spent years insisting that they don't collect more in surcharges than it costs to process the payments," Choice chief executive Alan Kirkland said.

"So we can only conclude from Qantas' latest statement that they have been hoodwinking consumers all this time in a bid to bolster company profits."

The airline's decision to cut fees comes after the Reserve Bank last year vowed to crack down on excessive charges for buying goods and services using cards.

Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express have been pushing for the surcharges to be lowered because it will make the use of their cards more attractive.

As part of the changes, Qantas will reduce Visa and MasterCard debit fees from $7.70 to $2.50 for domestic and trans-Tasman bookings, and from $30 to $10 for international fares.

Its surcharges on credit-card bookings for domestic and trans-Tasman flights will fall by 70ยข to $7.

The changes do not apply to Jetstar. But Jetstar said it was reviewing its booking and service fees. The airline charges a booking and service fee of $8.50 a passenger per flight for domestic and short-haul international flights. For long-haul international services it is $12.50.

Virgin Australia charges $7.70 a passenger for domestic fares bought with debit or credit cards.

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