Aldi shoppers warned about 'swipe tax' on contactless payments

Aldi shoppers have been warned about a hidden "swipe tax" on certain credit card and contactless transactions at the discount supermarket.

The issue was raised this week when a disgruntled customer noticed that Aldi charges 0.5 per cent on all credit card purchases.

This means that customers will pay an extra 50 cents for every $100 worth of groceries they buy using their credit card. The same applies to contactless transactions.

Aldi cashier scans groceries at checkout
An Aldi shopper swore to never use his credit card again at the supermarket after he noticed the credit card surcharge. Source: Getty

Aldi confirms surcharge on credit card and contactless payments

According to Aldi Australia's website there is a "0.5 per cent credit card surcharge on all credit card purchases to cover the cost of service".

However, the 0.5 per cent surcharge extends to customers who complete contactless transactions on their debit card.

An Aldi spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that the debit card surcharge only applies to customers who tap their card.

The spokesperson advised that if customers want to avoid paying a surcharge on their groceries, they can insert their debit card and select "savings", rather than tap.

Shopper uses contactless credit card at supermarket
Shoppers pointed out that most retailers have a contactless and credit card surcharge, but they don't all advertise it at the checkout like Aldi. Source: Getty

Customers divided over surcharge

"Just found out today about the Aldi swipe tax. Will not happen again," wrote an Aldi customer in a scathing post to a popular Aldi fans Facebook group.

Hundreds of Aldi shoppers flooded the comments on the man's post, with many claiming the surcharge has "been around for years".

Others pointed out that most retailers have a contactless and credit card surcharge, but they just don't advertise it like Aldi does.

"Have you been hiding under a rock? They have been doing it for years. There are signs everywhere at the register and at times the cashier reminds you before you tap," commented one shopper.

"All supermarkets do it, Aldi just tells you about it," replied another.

Aldi shopper enters supermarket with empty trolley
Aldi confirmed that the 0.5 per cent surcharge on contactless debit card transactions only applies to customers who tap their debit card. Source: Getty

Why does Aldi have a surcharge for credit cards and contactless payments?

While Aldi offers Visa and MasterCard payment methods for customers, as well as contactless transactions, there are high costs involved with accepting these cards.

"Rather than Aldi inflating prices across the board to compensate for the credit card acceptance costs (like most of the retailers do) Aldi instead allows customers to make the choice as to the payment method they prefer," reads the Aldi Australia website.

That way, customers who opt to pay with cash or their debit card can "receive the direct benefit by way of lower prices".

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Surcharges perfectly legal

Contactless payment and credit card surcharges are not a new thing, nor are they illegal according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC website states that when you pay a business using certain payment types, the business incurs costs for processing the payment.

"These costs are usually paid by the business to its bank. Some businesses include these costs in the price they charge for their goods or services. Others pass the costs on as a payment surcharge," reads the website.

A ban against excessive surcharges has been in place in Australia since February 2016, so consumers can typically expect to pay between 0.5 to 2 per cent per transaction.

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