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?