Earlier in the year, Aldi got Aldi got into a spot of bother about not fully disclosing a surcharge when Visa and MasterCard transactions occurred. Apparently verbally informing customers of surcharge when a credit card was used was not enough (I certainly remember hearing them do this).
Thus, it didn’t surprise me to see a sign at Aldi (and on their website) about the surcharge. It stated that any transactions through Visa or MasterCard – including “contactless transactions” (that is “PayWave” or “Tap and Go”) – would attract the surcharge.
But, I thought, I’ve got a debit card that can use this technology. Why should a surcharge apply if the money comes straight out of my account (in the theoretical event that I used the technology)?
This led to an informative discussion with an Aldi staff member. It seems that the contactless technology is a Visa/MasterCard product, so they get to clip the ticket if you use it, despite the fact that the amount is immediately debited to your own account. It’s as though you’ve chosen a “credit” account. Thus, if you have a debit card with this feature, to avoid paying the surcharge it has to be inserted in the reader and “cheque” or “savings” selected, because when used in the “contactless” mode, it is processed as a Visa or MasterCard transaction, and the merchant fees are as if it were a credit card transaction.
All clear enough when you know, but perhaps not immediately obvious to many of us.