Airlines consider credit card fee

Qantas and Virgin Blue are holding off charging their customers a fee for booking with credit cards but the Australian Consumers' Association says they're two merchants most likely to pass on the card processing fee.

Many of the airlines' customers book their flights over the Internet by credit card. In 2002 Qantas received 20 per cent of its domestic bookings and 5 per cent of international bookings via the Internet. This saves the airlines from paying travel agents' commissions and maintaining retail outlets and call centres.

The ACA says the airlines are probably torn between adding a credit card surcharge and displeasing customers and continuing to absorb the costs of credit card transactions.

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