The merger of payment systems brings with it the emergence of a single payments option, which inevitably leads to a riser in the cost of processing transactions.

“As a general rule, whenever the major banks have an agenda to merge entities to streamline processes, alarm bells warning of the impacts on competition should sound,” AACS CEO, Jeff Rogut, said. “Even prior to the pandemic, tap-and-go payment options were increasingly being favoured by consumers. Now, they are overwhelmingly the preferred way for people to make transactions. The proposed merger of payment systems which provide the infrastructure for these transactions will have obvious, significant impacts for businesses everywhere,” Mr Rogut added. “But for small businesses, the ramifications could be major. With no competition, there is no mechanism for the market to control price and alleviate cost increases for these businesses at this delicate economic time. Nor is there any impetus to improve the level of customer service provided to both merchants and their tap-and-go customers.”

As a result, small-business advocacy groups, including salons owners, have joined forces to voice their concerns over the proposed merger.

“We believe it is now time for the Reserve Bank to step up once again and insist that all businesses have the choice to process electronic payments through the network they choose to reduce their costs,” Rogut said. “This extends to ensuring there’s competition in the market. The consolidation of payment platforms into a single provider will have the opposite – and dangerous – effect,” Mr Rogut said.

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