Excessive card payment surcharges could be made illegal
Published 3 September 2012 by Joel Stanier
Credit and debit card 'surcharges' can add a lot to the cost of paying for things like concert tickets and flights - but a new law could make these charges a thing of the past.
The Government is considering a new law that would make it illegal for companies to make a profit from credit and debit card 'surcharges'.
Consumer Affairs Minister Norman Lamb announced the consultation into 'above cost' payment surcharges. If agreed, traders will only be allowed to charge as much as the transaction genuinely costs them. This change would likely be welcomed by the millions of consumers who have paid expensive card fees when buying things like concert tickets and flights.
Mr Lamb commented: "We want consumers to be able to pay for their goods and services without being hit by excessive hidden charges. That is why we are consulting on limiting the fees that traders can charge to consumers for using particular methods of payment.
"It can often be frustrating when purchasing a product or a service online, to find out only towards the end of the transaction that the final price is much higher due to things like payment surcharges. These proposals will stop companies from adding on these excessive charges, and allow consumers to see a clearer and more transparent breakdown of what they are paying for."
Card charges are often only revealed at the end of the booking process, meaning consumers can end up paying a lot more than they expected. According to the Press Association, twelve airlines agreed in July to include these surcharges in the ticket price - but it is still an additional charge that many customers resent paying.
A spokesperson for thinkmoney commented: "A debit card is a useful thing to have, but many consumers feel aggrieved when they have to pay a hefty charge for the privilege of using it. This new law could help to ensure customers are charged more fairly."