/ Money

We did it! Unfair card surcharges are being banned

Champagne bottle being popped open

With your support, we’ve lobbied long and hard to make ministers see sense about the unfair charges consumers have to pay when using cards. Now the hard work’s paid off – excessive surcharges are being banned!

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me… a ban of excessive debit and credit card surcharges.

After 43,202 pledges of support, 2,430 emails to Ed Davey, 8,765 emails to Mark Hoban MP, 12 letters from MPs (that we know about) sent to Mark Hoban, 9 parliamentary questions, 2 early day motions, 2 parliamentary debates and 40 ‘rip-off’ branded cupcakes, victory is ours – excessive debit and credit surcharges are banned!

How the ban will work

Today the government announced that it is banning excessive debit and credit card surcharges and I couldn’t be happier. This is a massive victory for thousands of you who have supported the campaign since we first submitted our super complaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in March.

The government will ban surcharges by implementing the Consumer Rights Directive – an EU law – in December 2012 rather than June 2014. This was the law we asked you to lobby Edward Davey about back in May, so all your nagging has certainly paid off – thanks Ed!

The Consumer Rights Directive will prevent excessive charges being levied. In practice, we imagine that will mean that the tiny cost of a debit card will be absorbed by the business, and credit card charges will be no more than the true cost incurred to the retailer for processing the payment. So goodbye to excessive £6 fees for a £30 flight!

Businesses need to catch-up quickly

While it’s been a lot of hard work, we’ve managed to have some fun along the way too. You may remember that back in November we sent Treasury Minister, Mark Hoban, 40 branded cupcakes as a thank you from the airlines for £40m they had earned in surcharges since June. We think it was his sweet tooth that finally drove him to doing the right thing.

Now that the government has taken action on this important issue, we want businesses to bite the bullet and quickly make the changes needed so you no longer have to pay for the privilege of paying.

I hope you’re all as excited about the ban as me, this victory is a great way to end the year and an early Christmas present for us all.

Comments
Guest
David says:
17 February 2012

A certain airline that is identified for excessive card charges will simply move their booking office to Eire and still continue to charge for card transactions as the legislation will only apply to the UK.

Profile photo of Miranda Akhurst
Guest

The Consumer Rights Directive requires maximum harmonisation so all companies operating in EU companies will have to abide by the same laws.
Happily the UK and Irish Governments have been working together on bringing Article 19 (the surcharges article) forward. Deputy Richard Bruton, the Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation announced last year he’d be bringing forward implementation of Article 19 – he also recently reiterated this move in a parliamentary question. So an early ban on excessive card charges should come in across the UK and Ireland at the same time.
See here for more info: http://www.djei.ie/press/2011/20111018.htm
http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2012/02/21/00186.asp

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Guest

A famous British Airline has just charged me an £18 fee for using a credit card for a European return flight for four. No wonder they can afford to fly with the red,blue and white libery and help sponsor a number of different British sports teams .
Fair enough if the fee they charged covered their extra costs but £18 is excessive

Guest
Edward says:
18 February 2012

If you are referring to British Airways, while it is supposed to be the ‘national airline’ of the UK, I cannot say that they are the most competitive airline.

They should be paying sponsorships from their profits and not impose UNFAIR extra charges on consumers.

A £4.50 booking fee, if you paid by card, is also unfair.

Guest
Peter says:
21 February 2012

Hi Edward
The fees I mentioned were directly linked to credit card payment. Use of a debit card in either case did not attract a separate charge.
Peter

Guest
Edward says:
21 February 2012

Hi Peter,
Thanks for clarifying card fees. I am concerned whether the Which? campaign will be able to put pressure on the government to ensure that unfair card charges are stopped. This has already become a free for all because the implementation of the EU directive does not come into effect until later this year. It does seem that companies, including arlines, have adopted the tactic of introducing booking fees to try and fool consumers about hidden charges.

Can Which? please shed some light on the current situation and whether the EU directive will force companies, banks etc., to drop their unfair charges and halt rip offs of consumers.

Guest
Karen says:
29 February 2012

How can it be called a success that it now costs more to pay for ordering Easy-jet tickets? The new administration fee is more transparent, but it is higher than the fee you paid by using debit card!

Guest
Edward says:
29 February 2012

Hi Karen,
You have made a valid point and I really do believe that Which? on behalf of ripped-off Consumers’ should now launch another campaign, to stop these higher unfair card charged. Why are companies and banks jumping on the gravey train by imposing extra charges, ahead of the government’s legislation later this year?

Guest
Dr Cornel Fleming says:
1 March 2012

In reply to Mark Hoban…..so why does the DVLA charge £2.50 ???????

Profile photo of Miranda Akhurst
Guest

Thought you’d be interested to see that Mark Hoban is hosting a Twitter Q&A at 4pm on Monday 5 March 2012. This is a great opportunity to remind the Minister that we’re expecting a swift result on surcharges and also raise some of the questions you have about his plans to tackle the issue. You can send your questions to the Treasury’s twitter account at @hmtreasury – for those who are not on Twitter, don’t worry, we’ll be sending him questions too.

Guest
Kay says:
13 March 2012

I recently took my 2 grandsons aged 11 and 5 to the cinema and booked the tickets on line using my DEBIT card. There was a charge of £2.25 for using my card.

I have also booked a holiday with Travel Republic to Egypt and was charged £10.00 for the privilege of paying with my DEBIT card.
Why do companies charge for using a debit card when the money is automatically transferred from my bank account to the theirs.

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Guest

The cinema will incur a small cost to take debit cards and will make a profit on the card charges. The same applies when they sell you popcorn. If there is an opportunity to make a profit, many companies will do it.

Guest
Malcolm says:
27 March 2012

What is an immediate concern is about the delayed implementation date. London is about to become the showcase for the UK in the Olympics. A demand for cash on arrival here to pay a taxi fare seems positively outdated and probably inconvenient and a payment by credit card is a rip off. Taxi drivers should be shamed into accepting card payments without surcharges in the broader interests of giving our Country a more positive image to overseas visitors.

Guest
Susan says:
5 April 2012

I have just been charged £62 for paying the balance of my holiday on my credit card. How is that 2.5% fee justified? It was through First Choice who must be making a fortune from these charges.

Guest
Cadfael says:
10 April 2012

Just been stung by a £5 card charge on top of a £45 charge for a change in car insurance details. I have been foolish enough to purchase a replacement car at a time other than my policy renewal date, albeit renewable on the 1st May. The impression is that money can be made at this so lets do it. I don’t object to reasonable charges but what amounts to an extra £50 for less than a months insurance is taking the micky. Needless to say this one time Which best buy won’t be getting my custom any more.

Guest
Alastair says:
11 April 2012

Just been charged £40 credit card fees by BMIBaby – over 5% of the flight costs. Role on Dec 2012! Can we retrospectively claim back these unfair charges?

Guest
Bob Hesk says:
21 April 2012

Tried to book two nights accomodation with Holiday Extras.They would only accept two seperate nights each attracting a £1.50 credit card charge , eqivalent to 3.95%. Spoke on the telephone to them and there is no way round it. What a rip off ! Booked a return flight to New York with Virgin Atlantic which included a charge of £11.69 for credit card use. So it goes on.Why the delay in legislation to the end of the year ?

Guest
Edward says:
21 April 2012

Hi Bob,
I believe that the date for the introduction of this new law for the prevention of companies & banks charging excessive [and unfair] fees for Card usage to pay for goods and services comes into effect in December 2012. This is the edict given by this government.

Why they could not legislate sooner, i.e. since 2011 is anyone’s guess. Moreover, I think that this lapse period is to allow companies and banks to INCREASE their charges but under a different designation, i.e. ‘service charges’. When you consider that in this digital age it only takes a few seconds to put through a payment, you do not need binoculars to see that card charges are a HUGE RIP OFF of consumers.

Of course nobody in the government worries about these excessive and unfair card usage charges. Why? Because long suffering BRITISH TAXPAYERS pick up the bill, not rich Cameron et al.

Guest
Norman says:
21 April 2012

Hi Edward long time since last messages
Once again your making a mistake of naming Ie Cameron. I agree with everything you are saying but lets not forget as you have brought it up Labour had 13 years and did nothing about this item , so please Edward stop using politics all the time. THEY ARE ALL AS BAD AS EACH OTHER.
Your friend
Norman
Ps at a recent auction (weds) I had to pay 1.98% of total price of items this was on top of 15% auction site fees.

Guest
Anne says:
29 April 2012

Where do we report companies that are charging surcharges?
Edwards Hair Solutions is charging £3.90 for credit card surcharges, even if you pay through paypal. is that legal?

Guest
Philip says:
5 January 2013

I was recently charged €22.50 by Lufthansa for purchasing tickets to the value of €667.05, that is 3.37% of the cost of the flight. I bought the ticket from Finland (via Lufthansa’s .com website), so not from the UK, but in any case this is anything but reasonable I would say. What is just as unfair in my opinion is that these charges are not mentioned on the initial price quote on the web page, only when you go to pay. I think such costs should be mentioned up-front otherwise how can the consumer compare prices if they have to go to the payments page before they know the real cost. It seems that such charges levied by Airlines are certainly on the increase and it looks like it will be difficult to get them to be reasonable despite the incoming 2014 EU legislation, unless all such charges are communicated to customers up-front so that they can appear in price comparisons.

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Guest

I just had a look at the easyJet website, it has dropped the £9 booking fee and there is a note to that effect, “…what you see is what you pay”. Good stuff.

Guest
Angela B says:
5 January 2013

In reply to Easyjet dropping the £9 fee. I recently tried to book flights and yes they have dropped that fee but now have allocated seating which they charge you for! I do not know of another airline that does this. So they have got round this already. I declined to pay the charge and booked with another airline. I think we have to vote with out feet.

Guest
Robert says:
5 January 2013

Angela B, Do you mean that you cannot complete your booking without buying allocated seating, or that if you wanted allocated seating, you had to pay extra? Some regular carriers (e.g. Malaysia Airlines) levy a charge if you want to book an allocated seat, although you can turn up at the airport and take your chance.
Quite right to vote with your feet – it is the only language rip-off merchants understand.

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Guest

In response to Angela B’s comment on the booking fee for an allocated seat, you do not have to select a seat. If you choose not to select where you want to sit their system will allocate one at random. My wife and I fly easyJet quite a lot and for us, paying a few pounds extra to avoid the old easyJet scrum/cattle-market is simple heaven. Other airlines also charge fees for seats – I flew Aberdeen to Southampton with Flybe on my own recently and when booking online eventually managed to find the way of NOT paying a seat fee and letting the system allocate me one. At least on easyJet the default position is that you don’t pay this fee unless you decide that you want to select your seat.

Guest
Dr Cornel Fleming says:
5 January 2013

Just renewed my car tax disc….and was charged £2.50 extra for using a Mastercard. DVLA rip-off,and certainly something that the Consumers Association should take up!!!

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Guest

Just use a debit card. DVLA and many other organisations make it clear that there is a surcharge for credit card payments to cover what the credit card companies charge. If DVLA did not pass on this charge, those who pay by credit card would be subsidised by the rest of us.

Guest
Dr Cornel Fleming says:
5 January 2013

to wavechange….sorry,but that is a nonsense! It does not cost £2.50 to process a card,it costs afew pennies!! This is very much the type of surcharge that is there just to make a profit!

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Guest

Credit card surcharges cover more than processing card payments, for example billing, subsidising those who take advantage of free credit and pay their bill in full every month, dealing with those who get into debt and providing protection for purchases over £100.

I ask if there is a credit card surcharge and if so, I pay by debit card and expect the transaction cost to be met by my bank.

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Guest

Ticketmaster the biggest offender, the charge exorbitant booking fees per ticket. I have paid up to £6.50 per person per booking. Totaly unacceptable!

Guest
Dr Cornel Fleming says:
5 January 2013

For a start,not everybody has a debit card. Moreover,this is the kind of argument Ryanair was using! If carried to it’s logical conclusion it would lead to a rise in bank charges as well. And why anm I am I supposed to cover the cost of those who get into debt???

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Guest

Fair enough. Not everyone has a debit card. It is possible to pay vehicle excise duty at some post offices, either in person, or by post for the cost of a stamp.

All credit card providers have to make provision for the cost of dealing with those who get into debt. With customers being given high credit limits and the typically high interest charges charged, quite a number of people do get into debt. If you are a good driver, you will be subsidising those who are not.

Guest
Edward says:
5 January 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!

Really, the greed merchants are already hard at work ripping everyone off? They know how to make easy money.

I am afraid, that what is clearly needed is another Consumer campaign championed by WHICH? to prevent all Companies and the government from imposing surcharge payments.

All in favour say AYE!

Guest
Dr Cornel Fleming says:
5 January 2013

Phoned a local eatery whose owner is a friend and who adds 50p to the bill if credit card used. Says it covers what he gets charged and leaves him slightly ahead,and that makes sense! I also asked the owner of a bookshop who pays about 2%. Adding £2.50 to the cost of a normal tax disc is over 10%. And I repeat…rip-off!!

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Guest

I believe that credit card companies charge retailers and service providers a percentage rather than a fixed price for their service, whereas retailers and service providers usually have a fixed charge for customers using a credit card. Thus DVLA is charging the same charge irrespective of whether the VED is £20 or £465.

Guest
Dr Cornel Fleming says:
5 January 2013

You mean a fixed overcharge for the vast majority of car owners!!!

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Guest

I hope that most car owners have the sense to pay in a way that avoids a surcharge. I have suggested three options.

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Guest

No one forces you to use a credit card to make a purchase. The fee is clear and upfront from DVLA – I use a debit card (probably easier to get from your bank than a credit card). Mind you, in the olden days you had to make a visit to the post office – how much would that cost now in fuel, parking – £2.50 doesn’t go that far. The same applies to my Council Tax.
When I do use a credit card I pay off in full, so apart from getting protection and convenience, I benefit (but not much these days!) from between one and two months free credit. I should thank those who do pay the extortionate interest rates for that.

Guest
Andrew says:
11 February 2013

I am wondering if anything has actually happened about this issue legally. I ask because Odeon would like to charge me 75p per ticket to book 3 tickets at £2.50 each for their family showing this morning – a charge of 30%. The charge is the same for debit or credit cards. Since we are now after the December deadline I ask has anything changed?

Guest
Andrew says:
11 February 2013

Update – the fee of £2.25 for three tickets applies even though the adult ticket is free! So the charge applies to a transaction of £5. If there were 2 adults then the charge would be £3 on a £5 transaction – or 60%! What is the record for largest percentage fee?

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Guest

I understand that the booking fee price cap became law in the last few weeks.

It’s now an offence to charge excessively.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22042309

Guest
Edward says:
15 May 2013

I am not sure that it is a “price cap.” I think that these surcharges / “booking fees” etc are still unregulated in the UK.

However, Companies want our business and the Online businesses are proceeding at a rate of knots!

However, these same companies who are fighting for our custom are still being very greedy because they are fleecing us; customers, with these administration charges / surcharges / booking fees etc.

When you forensically examine these extra charges, most of our Online business transactions are carried out ELECTRONICALLY. We even get “automated responses” from these companies. We hardly need to speak with a “customer care person.” Yet, these charges are levied against us for giving our business to these companies!

These charges, at whatever level, are therefore wrong and unfair.

I hope CEOs, MDs and the politicians read our comments and take positive action to correct this blatant injustice.

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Guest

Why have I still be charged £6.00 per person booking fee with Ticketmaster for a booking at the Newcastle 02 Arena?? Is this legal?? or have I been “done”?? Please give me some up-to-date guidance on these charges.

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Guest

I’m not surprised that Edward and Maureen feel ripped off by these extortionate booking and admin fees that many companies charge. So called admin and booking fees are both unfair and annoying, if they’re unavoidable (as they nearly always are) why aren’t they included in the headline price?

The reason why the ban that came in on 6 April this year hasn’t tackled these charges is because it focuses on excessive debit and credit card surcharges. So only the charges that relate to, and change, depending on your payment option. Unfortunately this ban does not cover those annoying booking or admin fees as they don’t relate to payment.

Don’t worry, we’re well aware that these other admin and booking fees seem to be on the increase – and our on the case. Do keep reporting them to us here, or if you find excessive surcharges (payment related only) let us know about them here: http://www.which.co.uk/surcharges and we’ll report them to Trading Standards.

Guest
Dr C Fleming says:
15 May 2013

Sorry,Miranda..but you are wrong,these charges very much relate to payment,since all that the rip-off merchants did was to change from calling them “card charges” to “admin” or “processing” or whatever other weasel-word charges. This ought to go to Trading Standards now,just as a continuation of the previous approach….possibly with a comment that this is something between theft and fraud!!

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Guest

So how does one get in touch with Trading Standards to pass this on, I tried to send them an e-mail and it came back telling me I could not contact them direct. What is all this about, Who can contact TS if not the general public?? Any advice would be appreciated as to how to get in touch with them.

Guest
Edward says:
15 May 2013

I am very surprised by your remarks, in particular “if you find excessive surcharges.” If you care to read previous submissions you will find a plethora of examples.

Moreover, the real issue is not “excessive surcharges,” but the fact that surcharges are levied against us, the Customers, at all.

I have not seen or heard any explanation; legal or otherwise to justify any surcharges that are unfairly made AGAINST Customers.

I return to my previous comment, that Customers are unfairly required to abide by these leeches or else. They are effectively saying pay up if you want their “services / goods.”

Miranda, your other comment that you will report surcharges to “trading standards” is side stepping the real issue. What we want is for you to confront all companies head on; no ducking and diving, on behalf of all Customers and tell them to stop making these surcharges against us. This is the challenge.

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Guest

You need to first contact the Citizens Advice consumer service and they will refer it on to Trading Standards if they deem it necessary.

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Guest

In fact, Miranda, what we want is for you to tackle the BANKS who are ripping off the businesses, who in turn are ripping off the customers. If the BANKS were prohibited from profiteering from the use of cards (which they have forced upon everyone) then the retailers would neither need to charge nor have a leg to stand on if they tried. It would then be very much easier to get the charges not just reduced but abolished.
The banks are the root cause of this issue and always have been ever since Barclay’s first introduced “Connect” in the 1980’s and brought with it a “charging opportunity” as one of their staff once described it to me when I was still working in retail.

I do not understand Which?’s refusal to tackle the real cause of the problem.

Guest
Cinema goer says:
5 August 2013

In practice, my local cinema’s OM has told me they’ve raised prices to cover the cost lost by the law. This means that paying members have to pay more – it was part of the deal of Picturehouses membership to not have to pay these! The law needs to protect the consumer in practice, not have the charges moved. Many of query inflation and price rises and most certainly why costs are passed to the public. The lobbying is not yet finished!

Guest
Robert says:
6 August 2013

Cinema goer, you may feel aggrieved, but previously you were being subsidised by those paying with cards. Remember the real cost to the cinema of a CC transaction is only about 2% (say 15p on a £7.50 ticket). I regard the result as a success because the true cost is now displayed up front and the rest of us are not subsidising you!
Charging 50p or whatever to use a card (which of course is probably how most people pay) is just a way to reduce the headline price but make the profit up elsewhere. All booking or admin fees should be banned – that’s part of the cost of running the business.
The other inconsistency is that if you pay with cash, the cinema has costs associated with security and banking, so it probably costs as much per transaction as a card!

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Guest

Sorry Robert, I have to disagree with you – your “real” cost takes no account of the cost of renting the terminals form the banks, the cost of the telephone call made every time a card is inserted, the cost of the electricity to run the terminals and the fines which the banks impose if the retailer does not process enough transactions to generate the stipulated revenue (for the bak) in processing fees.

This is the big issue with these charges: no one really considers the REAL cost of processing the cards, only the actual PROCESSING FEE per transaction. There are a great many on-costs.

Guest
Robert says:
21 September 2013

OK Dave, but a lot of those costs are really just part of the cost of running a business. As I said you are not charged for paying in cash, yet the business has had to install a safe, go to the bank daily/weekly or hire a security company to come and collect the takings, pay insurance based on the maximum amount they could hold over a holiday weekend, employ security staff, etc.

Running a business costs money, and when you buy something, you should not have to pay for the goods or service, then pay a booking fee, then an admin fee, then a card fee, then a fee to actually print a boarding pass if it is an airline, then a fee to use the loo… I’m surprised our favourite Irish airline hasn’t introduced a charge to use the steps to board the aircraft! After all steps have to be bought and maintained and someone employed to push it up to the aircraft.

Whether it is a cinema or airline, the price should be the whole inclusive price. If they choose to make themselves easier to do business with by accepting cards – especially if they are working over the internet – then that is a commercial decision they made. If they don’t think the cost of the cards is worth the extra business, then they should not accept cards!

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Guest

Robert said “Whether it is a cinema or airline, the price should be the whole inclusive price.” – absolutely agree – the price displayed should be the price to pay.

My suspicion is, though, that if the on-costs of taking cards (which are, as Robert also said, part of running a business) were added to the prices before ticketing up, there would be outcry from those paying cash, who would be subsidising the card users even more than they are now.

Whilst I absolutely agree with Robert that the businesses have overheads, and card fees plus running costs of the machinery are part of those overheads, it is morally and commercially reprehensible that the banks profiteer from this in the way that they do.

Some of us are old enough to remember the 1990’s when Barclay’s connect was first introduced, and with it the first ever “PDQ” terminals: if the banks had not refused to guarantee Debit cards unless they were processed electronically (which is what happened when Connect first came out) retailers could have gone on using the “zip-zap” manual cards imprinters and vouchers. These were supplied FREE by the banks and the vouchers to go in them were also FREE. They did not use electricity or telephone connections and the cost of handling cards then was indeed just the processing charge. It is the banks who have driven this whole affair from day one and who are making the money out of it. It doesn’t matter which way we hide, disguise or wrap up the costs into the shelf edge price, the business overheads are still phenomenal now compared to what they were pre Barclay’s Connect because the banks have forced retailers into using this equipment out of which the banks make the money. It is therefore the BANKS who still need to be regulated and controlled in this as in all else that they do.

Guest
Robert says:
21 September 2013

Dave, Having read your other posts, I do completely agree with you that the root of the problem is the way the banks are profiteering from card use. Probably it is becoming more of a problem now that they are being forced to stop selling PPI, ID theft protection etc. How else will they pay for the bonuses and generous pension schemes they have?

In 2009 a banker I met on holiday was bitterly complaining to me that he now had to start paying 3% towards his previously free pension since the credit crunch. I told him that several hundred people had lost their jobs in my company, and all the rest of us had to take a 10% pay cut. He then told me that because of the reduced volume of transactions/foreign exchanges/loans by industry (the sector he worked in) the bank had put up their fees in order to protect profits. He implied that my company should have just increased our prices! These guys live in a different world from the rest of us!

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Guest

Absolutely agree with all of your last posting Robert!

Guest
Edward says:
6 August 2013

Quite clearly, yet again, card charges etc is the real bread and butter issue.

Why are companies etc imposing and increasing their “fees” for using your Card?

GREED, is the first word that comes to mind and Banks and other organisations are getting away with it! everyone is feasting on the gravy train.

So who can do something about this unfairness? Banks and companies will never self-regulate themselves in favour of consumers; the cash cow is there for them to milk at will!

I call on the government to wake up to this injustice and prove that they are on the side of the people. We need action NOW.

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Guest

Thanks for your support Edward. It is now illegal for companies to charge excessive surcharges when paying by card – that’s more than 50p using a debit card or more than 2% if using a credit card. We’re in the process of catching out companies still charging excessively and we’re encouraging our supporters to report the offenders. If you spot an excessive charge, please report it here: http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/card-charges/

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Guest

Sadly, but not at all surprisingly given the state of the government and the banking industry, the cap of 50p on a debit card and 2% on credit cards means that the retailers are still actually going to lose out because the banks still charge vastly more to process DEBIT cards than they do to process CREDIT cards – i.e. the government has got it back to front (again).

This is a complicated issue (politically) because the government has backed the banks in trying to abolish cheques (which the banks charge far less to process, undoubtedly why they want to force everyone to use DEBIT cards, so they can make more money) and the banks have all but succeeded because in abolishing the Cheque Guarantee Scheme most retailers now won’t risk taking cheques. Therefore the government would be in an awful egg-on-face position if they limited the charge on CREDIT cards at a lower (realistic) rate than DEBIT cards as the true way in which the banks are profiteering from DEBIT cards would become better known.

The upshot is that the larger retailers will simply add a little extra onto the mark up on all goods, so that everyone, paying by all methods including cash, pays to subsidise the processing of DEBIT cards, and the smaller retailers will simply be squeezed further and more of them go to the wall.

Also the caps on the charges don’t take account of the punitive charges which the banks levy on retailers for the purchase or rental of the card terminals, the cost of the telephone call which every terminal makes every time any card is inserted, even if the transaction is aborted or declined and the cost of the electricity to run the terminals (which is infinitesimally small for one terminal but when you consider large stores with maybe 40 or 50 terminals in every branch and possibly hundreds of branches soon adds up). Not to mention the fact that the banks FINE retailers who do not process enough card transactions in a month to produce the agreed “tariff” for the bank – this fine is often in the order of several hundred pounds a month and is levied even if the retailer is just a penny short of the “tariff”.

For anyone interested in finding out more details of these issues, look at the Which? Convo’s about credit and debit card charges, cheques, the cheque guarantee scheme and Chip & PIN – there is endless detail from many people’s perspectives, including small traders who have been forced out of business by the processing charges.

I’m not saying that we should allow the free for all of sky-high charges to the customer, far from it, and from the customer’s point of view, which? and the government have made some positive steps here, at least at face value, but the upshot will be that every one of us pays a little more for every item we buy and every service we use and quite a few traders will suffer and fail …. some of them will be owned by individuals who are “customers” elsewhere.

As in so many issues, the REAL issue lies with the banks and no one, Which?, Government, or anyone else, seems willing to tackle them, even now.

Guest
Richard Owen says:
20 September 2013

So the government have banned excessive creditcard surcharges – only allowed to charge what it costs them… so https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax can charge £2.50 for a creditcard payment, and if my tax disc was £30, that’s 8.33% surcharge – surely it doesn’t get charged that much for a £30 payment?

So government, you brought the law in, why not abide by your own rules?

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Guest

I had a merchant account in Canada and in both the USA and Canada surcharges by merchants was absolutely banned, the merchant charges to me were a percentage of the transactions, the lower the transaction average the higher the percentage cost, however it never exceeded 5% of the transaction amount. It helped also to find a bank or credit union that gave a greater break to small businesses, does anyone know if, or how, the rest of the EU charges?

Guest
Edward says:
21 September 2013

Dear hard pressed British European people,

Again and again, I become more and more convinced that this issue of credit and debit card surcharges is not going to go away unless and until all such charges are LEGALLY REMOVED.

Until WHICH? definitely start a campaign to get this government to eradicate these charges I have to tell you all that you are wasting your time and resources complaining to them.

So what are you going to do WHICH?

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Guest

Hi Edward, we successfully campaigned for excessive surcharges to be banned following our campaign in 2011. Since the 6th April 2013 it’s been illegal for companies to charge more than 2% for using a credit card or 50p for using a debit card. If you catch a company charging above these amounts, please report them using our online tool. http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/card-charges/ Thanks, Charlotte

Guest
Edward says:
23 September 2013

Dear Charlotte,

Thank you for your response.

I call upon everyone who has commented on this Which? conversation board to make their views known. Do you think that the real issue is the removal of ALL surcharges which are applied to using your Credit and Debit cards?

This has now come down to a simple issue and I hope that there will be a great response from everyone. Thanks.

Guest
R Welch says:
20 January 2014

Gatwick parking still charges £2 for anything other than a debit card payment on a £30 car park booking. 6.66%!
Are airports exempt from the law?

Guest
FrankO says:
3 February 2014

I just booked a flight with FlyBe. They still have a standard £5 charge for credit cards. Ridiculous!

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Guest

If you pay for a flight using a credit card, the company will have to pay the credit card company a significant amount of money, which varies according to size of business and what they have managed to negotiate with the credit card company. You benefit from free credit and if your payment is over £100, credit card payments offer protection in the event of a problem.

In contrast, debit card transactions are cheap. Which? gave a figure of 20 pence recently, so companies can reasonably be expected to absorb this charge in their prices.

My suggestion is to pay by credit card if there is no surcharge, or pay by debit card.

A debit card surcharge is unreasonable. A credit card surcharge is reasonable provided that it reflects the cost to the retailer.

Guest
DickieMint says:
10 February 2014

Using Laterooms.com to book Millbatch Farm B & B in Meare, Glastonbury I could only book by pre-paying using a Credit Card for which a 3% service charge was levied.
1. Can a supplier insist on pre-payment with a credit card?
2. As they insist on the credit card, are they breaking the Consumer Rights Directive?
3. Whilst taking Debit Cards also the levy wording says “cards” assuming debit as well as credit?

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

I have been reading the document on surcharges, published last year:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/175298/13-719-guidance-on-the-consumer-protection-payment-surcharges-regulations-2012.pdf

This allows for a trader to make a surcharge that does not exceed the cost incurred for the appropriate type of transaction. It also allows the trader to apply a surcharge that reflects the average cost of this type of transaction, allowing the same surcharge to apply whether the transaction is small or large.

These provisions may seem fair enough at first glance, but the consumer has no way of knowing whether a surcharge actually reflects the cost to a trader or whether a surcharge is unfair. What we need is a maximum permitted surcharge or maximum percentage surcharge, so that the consumer knows exactly where they stand.

Guest
ross oaker says:
12 March 2015

But this is still going on. I booked a ticket for 3 people with BA they charge 5 pounds each but its only one credit card transaction !!!

Guest
Eram says:
13 March 2015

The UNFAIRNESS continues and this must be eradicated.