Payment methods

  • Businesses don’t have to accept cash.
  • Businesses should be clear about the types of payments they accept and the total price payable.
  • When using a payment method other than cash, consumers should read any terms and conditions carefully.
  • ASIC’s Moneysmart website has advice for consumers on using payment methods like credit cards, interest-free deals and buy now pay later services.
  • Consumers can cancel lay-by agreements at any time and only pay a termination fee.

What the ACCC does

  • We enforce the Australian Competition and Consumer Act 2010, which includes the Australian Consumer Law. This sets out rules around misleading conduct, payment surcharges and lay-by agreements.

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don’t resolve individual disputes.

Cash

Businesses can choose which payment types they accept. It is legal for a business not to accept cash.

However, businesses should be clear and upfront about the types of payments they accept, and the total minimum price payable for their goods and services.

Credit cards

Consumers can use credit cards to buy goods and services on credit.

They are different from:

  • debit cards, which use money direct from a bank account
  • prepaid cards, which are loaded with money in advance.

Visit the Moneysmart website for tips on using a credit card wisely.

Card surcharges

In general, businesses can charge a surcharge for paying with a credit, debit or prepaid card, but there are rules around what businesses can include in calculating these costs.

If there is no way for a consumer to pay without paying a surcharge, the business must include the minimum surcharge payable in the displayed price for its products.

See Card surcharges for more information about surcharge rules.

Interest-free deals

Interest-free deals let consumers get a product or service straight away, but pay it off over time through a credit card or store card.

After an interest-free period, consumers must pay interest on any money they still owe. Businesses may also charge fees on interest-free deals.

Visit the Moneysmart website for advice on interest-free deals.

Buy now pay later services

Buy now pay later services allow consumers to buy a product or service and delay payment. Consumers usually pay by instalments without being charged interest. However, businesses may charge fees on buy now pay later services.

Visit the Moneysmart website for advice on using buy now pay later services.

Lay-by agreements

A lay-by agreement is a type of contract where consumers pay for goods in two or more instalments, and do not receive the goods until the full price has been paid.

Businesses must provide consumers with a written copy of any lay-by agreement that sets out any terms and conditions including termination fees. Termination fees can’t be more than the business’s reasonable costs in relation to the agreement.

A consumer can cancel a lay-by agreement at any time before they receive the products. If they cancel the agreement, the business must refund their deposit and anything else they have paid, minus any termination fee mentioned in the agreement. If the payments already made by the consumer are less than the termination fee, the consumer must pay the difference.

A business can only cancel a lay-by agreement if:

  • the consumer has broken the agreement, for example by not paying instalments
  • the business is no longer trading
  • the product is no longer available and this is outside the business’s control.

See also

Card surcharges

Contracts

Debt

Sales practices: a guide for businesses and legal practitioners

Moneysmart website