“It could amount to a savings of 50 cents on a loaf of bread,” says Bruce Ingram.
Now 50 cents may seem like crumbs – but not to this Bakers Delight franchisee out of Owens Place by the Bayfair roundabout. “It is a reasonable saving and people should be aware of it.” Two loaves a week and that's $50 a year saved. Just on bread.
Bakers Delight franchisee Bruce Ingram helping us save. Photo: Chris Callinan.
Bruce is making savings too. By not having payWave, PayPass and credit card facilities he is saving $350 to $400 a month on bank charges, savings which in turn he passes onto his customers. You and me.
This all this blew up when a customer got annoyed. “They were upset we didn't take payWave and credit cards.” When it was explained those facilities cost the retailer, who would then have to pass that cost on, the customer remonstrated.
“But it doesn't cost you,” said the customer. “It's like Eftpos, it doesn't cost you anything.”
Bruce insisted the banks would levy his business for those facilities. “And it may be that a lot of people think payWave is free when it's not.” He feels compelled to put people right. You use it, you will end up paying for it.
“When you go into the Retail NZ website there's a whole paper on the matter, in terms of saying these charges are not transparent; and you have to drill down quite deep to find things out.” Even New Zealand First leader Winston Peters recently drew attention to the issue.
Bruce was changing his business point of sale system. The system suppliers told him Eftpos would be free, the direct debit card – which he says few people use – would also be free, but payWave would be about 1.35 per cent and credit transactions cards even more expensive.
On average banks levy 1.7 per cent for credit transactions according to Retail NZ – that compares to 0.89 per cent in the United Kingdom and 0.78 per cent in Australia. For contactless debit, Kiwis pay on average one per cent compared to 0.36 per cent in the UK and nine cents per transaction in Australia regardless of the value.
Retail NZ says it has significant concerns about the level of merchant service fees charged by banks when customers use their cards. And the fees charged in NZ are significantly higher than those charged in the UK and Australia, where governments have regulated interchange rates.
“Overseas, rates are trending down,” says Retail NZ. “In NZ they are going up.”
“With no regulation our banks can do whatever they like with these charges,” says Bruce. “And they pretty much do.”
“I spoke to some Auckland franchisees, who offer credit card and contactless debit facilities, and they were paying up to $400 a month – extrapolate that for a year.”
It's the thick end of $5000. “Well, I pay $60 a month,” says Bruce. He saves and in turn we all save.
Alternatively, Bruce says, retailers get into the position of saying if they are going to accept credit cards then they will charge a fee for that service. “That creates more customer dissatisfaction because people don't like charges.”
Bruce says it's a case of putting it out there. “Retailers or merchants do get charged and they are bound to recover it.”
He believes it's fairer to all if he doesn't put up his prices. “A lot of customers don't use cards. And so if we want to keep our costs down and the customer wants us to keep our prices down, then the only way is to keep these costs out of the marketplace.
“Because we can't have it all ways.”
It's a valuable service message, according to Bruce.