23 September 2021

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson today welcomed the announcement by the Commonwealth Bank that it will automatically lower costs incurred by small businesses and family enterprises with a turnover of less than $250,000.  

The Ombudsman has repeatedly called on banks and other financial institutions to adopt what is known as least cost routing to slash the high and hidden costs associated with electronic card payments for small operators and family enterprises.

“I congratulate the Commonwealth Bank for hearing the feedback from the small business community and taking this first step which will help a section of the small business community. There is a lot more to be done though, and I urge all banks and financial institutions to address this critical issue,” Mr. Billson said.

“I also welcome the Commonwealth Bank’s announcement that it will waive three months of merchant fees for those small businesses hardest hit by COVID-19 lockdowns. This is a terrific early Christmas present.

“The use of cashless transactions, particularly tap-and-go payments, has dramatically increased due to COVID-19 and it is vital to ensure that all small businesses are being offered the lowest cost options from their service provider or financial institution.

“Many small businesses and family enterprises already operating on tight margins and battling the disruption to their businesses caused by COVID-19 can’t afford the added burden of paying higher than necessary fees for their financial transactions.

“The cost of these higher and hidden charges across the economy is many millions of dollars – money that could be better put to work to grow business and employment prospects.”