Card payment surcharges to be outlawed

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Banned: no more surcharge payments for customers
Banned: no more surcharge payments for customers

Related tags Executive kate nicholls Credit card Electric charge

Pubs and other businesses will be banned from charging customers extra for paying by debit or credit card from January next year.

According to Treasury estimates from 2010, consumers spent £473m on card charges, which many businesses claim to put in place to cover the cost of transactions.

The Government announced the impending ban after a European Union directive outlawed Visa and Mastercard surcharges.

The ban

In the UK, the ban will also be applied to American Express and PayPal payments.

Many businesses pass the cost of card transactions to customers, with banks charging retailers between 10p and 20p per transaction and 0.6% for credit cards.

The Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012​ state a trader must not charge consumers, in respect of the use of a given means of payment, fees that exceed the cost borne by the trader for the use of that means.

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief executive Kate Nicholls called on the Government to be flexible with the rule change.

"Any measures that increase transparency for customers are appreciated, but we cannot ignore the fact that retailers incur a charge when they take a card payment," she said.

'Not taking a hit'

"There needs to be a degree of flexibility to ensure that venues are not taking a hit every time they take a payment."

However, exorbitant charges were not helpful and routinely charging customers relatively large amounts for small transactions could put them off making purchases, Nicholls added.

"Nevertheless, businesses will still be charged for access to merchant services, so there is a chance that there charges may end up being covered by customers anyway."

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