Saturday 6 April doesn’t just mark the new tax year. I’ve been waiting for this day for months – 15 to be precise – as the government’s ban on excessive card surcharges finally comes in.
We’ve spent more than two years campaigning to ban ‘rip off’ surcharges.
We launched a super complaint to the Office of Fair Trading and, with support from more than 50,000 of you, we’re happy to announce that ‘rip off’ surcharges have finally been banned.
Excessive surcharges won’t be missed
It means that, as of today, card payment surcharges should be limited to the cost incurred to the trader for processing your transaction. Gone are the days of paying a surcharge per ticket or per leg of your flight. There should be no more flat fees of up to £7 for buying a £50 item, and we’ve seen the last of excessive fees for paying by debit card.
From now on, businesses will be required to prove that any surcharge they do implement is reflective of their costs.
We estimate that processing a debit card costs traders approximately 10-20p, so we expect surcharges for debit cards will become a thing of the past. Credit card surcharges should be no more than 2% of the total cost of your transaction, so a surcharge on a £200 purchase should never be more than £4.
We’ll keep our eyes open
Key industries like financial services and estate agents are excluded from the ban, while micro-businesses have been given until June 2014 to comply.
But we are pleased that a number of companies have already made improvements to their surcharging policies ahead of the ban coming in. You’ve sent us thousands of examples of excessive surcharging over the last few years, and we’ll continue to keep an eye on the issue.
If you find any examples of excessive surcharges after 6 April 2013, please report the guilty companies to us. We’ll let Trading Standards know about any companies breaching the new rules. And finally, we’d like to say a huge thank you for all your support for our ‘rip off’ charges campaign.