Credit Card Charges

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The latest of life’s many annoyances! OK, they’ve been around for years, if you wanted to pay with one of the ‘expensive’ credit cards (ie American Express or Diners Club) you got charged for the privilege. Use a Visa or Mastercard please. Now they’re starting to charge – typically 1.5 to 2.5% – for the regular cards as well.

The annoyance is that it’s most often businesses that are charging like the proverbial wounded rhino in any case. So in recent months some of the most expensive hotel I’ve stayed at in Australia – the Henry Jones Art Hotel  in Hobart (US$409) and the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra (US$428) – have been the ‘whack the extra charges on’ culprits. Lower priced establishments don’t seem so desperate to make an extra per cent or two. The Canberra Hyatt also indulges in my other least favourite practice, internet charges, in this case US$28 a day.

Henry Jones Hotel 542
▲ Art Hotel in Hobart

Of course you don’t have to pay with a credit card, you can pay cash (which in the above cases requires carrying lots of it around). Of course that also inflicts on the hotel the inconvenience of having to trot to the bank to deposit all the cash, clearly a good thing. Or you can make a direct transfer, eftpos in Australia, although that means presenting another card, because they’ll want a credit card to guarantee ‘incidentals’ when you book in, and probably keying in PIN numbers.

Another member of the charge-heavily-brigade which has recently decided to charge even more is Melbourne Airport’s oh-so-profitable car parks. So here I opt to pay in cash, which adds another step in the process, you can’t just stick your card in the exit machine. Still none of this is as bad as airlines which charge a credit card supplement and when you ask ‘OK, what other way can I pay’ reply ‘there is no other way.’