Monday, May 22, 2006

Fees review in Australia: consumers do not wish to see transaction prices....

Payment News had these two nice pointers to fee studies. One is from the Reserve Bank of Australia, the other from the Australian Bankers Association.

The RBA noted that the revenue feel due to lower merchant service charges, yet the overall growth in fee income that occurred was due more to increases in the use of banking services than increased charges. The Australian banks analysis confirms this and adds that:
- the user pays system allows customers to make choices about their banking and the average price of banking is falling as consumers gravitate toward low-cost options,
- expansion in the availability of free transactions, and of accounts offering an unlimited number of such transactions, means that many mainstream customers today pay little or no banking service fees at all because they transact within fee-free limit conditions on their accounts.

Most interesting is that while all theory outlines the need for transaction fees to be transparent to the user, the actual consumer quickly reverts to packaged deals which make the fee intransparant. Consumers do not want to be bothered with detailed billing for convenience services. They know they need to pay something but prefer to be not aware.