/ Money

Stop charging us to pay by card

Debit card

Why do extra charges for paying by card always pop up at the final stage of online shopping? Why don’t they get absorbed into the overall cost so we don’t get unwelcome – and unfair – charges added to our bills.

When recently buying a budget flight to Istanbul, I rightly expected to be bombarded with recommendations for pricey hotels and expensive cars for hire.

A few deft clicks in ‘No Thanks’ boxes – it’s obvious a night at the Hilton or the keys to a Humvee aren’t part of my budget – and I avoided some key assaults on my wallet. But what about the costs you can’t avoid?

It might be fair to pay for extra luggage, but what about paying for – well – making a payment? The airline charged me £3.50 for having the cheek to use that most rare and awkward of payment methods, the Visa debit card.

Companies who charge you to pay by card – airlines being among the worst culprits – often claim these charges reflect the costs they incur for processing card payments. But processing payments is an unavoidable part of buying a flight online, so why isn’t it absorbed into the normal price for the flight?

By the same logic, should we expect an itemised bill showing the added expense of having wings fitted on the plane?

Of course, certain budget airlines point to niche payment methods where you can dodge these charges, such as Ryanair and prepaid Mastercards. But is it fair to advertise a price when the majority of people don’t have the payment method that makes them eligible for it?

Either way, I was in need of a holiday and begrudgingly paid the £3.50. I can’t pretend I walked the streets of Istanbul worrying about it, nor did I lay awake at night listening to the waves crashing on the Bosphorous, contemplating what untold wonders £3.50 might have afforded me in the bazaars. Even so, I’d prefer a system that treats all cardholders equally.

Isn’t it about time companies stopped charging us to pay by card? What’s the worst charging offence that you’ve suffered in the past?


I don’t think debit and credit charges should be integrated into the price of things it is unfair to people that pay cash. However, I do believe the charges should reflect the true cost. Companies and council should not make extra money out of charges made by banks. I think companies like RyanAir who charge per ticket rather than transaction should be disciplined but the UK government is more interested in pandering to business rather than looking after the people that elected them to office. Shame.

drlnb says:
8 December 2010

Unbelievably MARK WARNER have just tried to charge me a flat 2% on a £1600 holiday as a charge for using a credit card. That is £32 ……..I think this may border on fraud, and if it doesn’t then it should

scurs says:
8 February 2011

Hi,Chek out norfolk line ferries, no charge if payment is made useing euro based credit /debit card.charge for sterling based card ranges between£1 & £4.50 but no charge if you use paypal??which is usually paid via credit card,perhaps it is time that we had a petition to get us in line with the rest of Europe.

I just had an advertising brochure from Costco to me, as a business. It offers “Merchant Credit and Debit Card Processing 1.1% per credit card transaction and 11p per debit card transaction”. So use that as a benchmark when questioning the charges made3 by other suppliers to you. any more that this is clearly profiteering and should be illegal.

Ken Saunders says:
15 May 2011

I have just booked 4 tickets with Aer Lingus to Malaga, and they have charged me £12 PER PERSON, I was paying as a one of payment, I strongly believe this is totally unfair.

Mike says:
24 August 2011

I was charged £12 by Santander for settling a loan using my DEDIT card. This transaction was completely automated when I telephoned. It costs Santander nothing to process this payment and I even have to pay 10p per minute for the priviledge of using the phone system.

michelle grant says:
13 August 2013

worse than the open charges are the ones the banks are raking in, when a company requests a payment the funds are put on hold for 48 hours after which the money is relaeased back into your account, many retailers are not claiming this money within the 48hr period so the money goes bank on your account and if like me you take your balance available as gospel you spend it then low and behold the retailer comes in when theres no money in your account and the bank by law has to honour the payment and you go into a negative balance and incur charges if you dont have an overdraft !!!!! only in the last 4 months has this started happening to me on a frequent basis, the bank certainly getting back all the charges they refunded me last year slowly but surely

Charles says:
6 December 2017

A company has recently tried to charge me 4% to pay by Credit Card. The amount to pay by debit card was £3. How do I complain?

To avoid credit card charges and keep our main bank accounts safer, we have opened a joint bank account with the sole purpose of paying these sharks.

The account with no overdraft facility stays empty unless we have a payment to make when we just transfer the exact amount they can then help themselves to via a debit card.