The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is reminding consumers that using a debit card at the checkout – whether you tap-and-go or even use a pin – can attract a fee similar to using credit cards.

Dr Michael Schaper, deputy chair of ACCC, said businesses are within their rights to charge the underlying fees for using contactless cards but they must not charge higher than the cost of providing the service.

“For most businesses there is a fee they're charged through their bank or their card operator,” he told the ABC.

“If you do tap and get hit with an extra charge, it is legal.”

Businesses are already allowed to pass on a 1 to 2 per cent surcharge on credit card transactions, but the fee charged by banks to process debit and eftpos purchases is much lower.

“It really does require customers to make sure when they buy something they ask that question,” Dr Schaper said.

“I think too many of us probably don't because we assume we're not going to be charged for it.”

The Australian Retailers Association estimates tap and go costs merchants an extra $500 million a year.

Article created in partnership with Over60