The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) has announced a summit of members to explore how payments can be made more equitable for small to mid-sized businesses.

The summit, due to take place on December 8, comes as contactless payments, mobile wallets, and ‘buy now, pay later’ services have revolutionised how Australians make purchases.

While these new services often bring increased convenience for the shopper, they have also been accompanied by heightened merchant fees for retailers and businesses.

COSBOA CEO Alexi Boyd said: “We’re hoping small businesses and their advisors will join us to understand the payments ecosystem and how they’re being impacted by its many moving parts.

“We will empower small businesses and their advisors with the knowledge they need to advocate for a fairer system and avoid being ripped off.”

Boyd will be accompanied by several speakers from the industry with particular expertise in saving businesses money on merchant fees. Once such speaker is Mangala Martinus, Managing Director at Payments Consulting Network, who has assisted retailers in using a method called ‘least cost routing’.

This initiative runs debit transactions through the cheapest available payment network – according to Martinus, this is often the Australian etfpos system, than Visa or Mastercard’s networks.

Martinus said: “Least Cost Routing should be mandated as a default for every debit payment – be it in store, online or via mobile. Without question, more needs to be done to support small business lower the cost of accepting payments.”

As Boyd says, “the complexity of the topic can be intimidating and make it easy for the powerful players in this space to obscure the facts.”

The COSBOA hope that the summit with give retailers and small businesses the guidance and information they need to reduce costs now, and advocate for a fairer structure overall.

Other speakers include:

  • Bruce Billson, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
  • Mark McKenzie, Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association CEO
  • Robbie MacDiarmid, Head of Asia Pacific at CMSPI
  • Dhun Karai, Partner – Financial Advisory at Grant Thornton
  • Brad Kelly – Managing Director, Payment Services

The summit, which is being held as an online event and, is free to attend for all those who register here.

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