Have you been caught out with charges for using your credit or debit card when booking flights? Not only is this an irritating practice, it’s a ‘rip-off’ when you consider how little it costs the airlines to process.
Like lots of people, I’ve found that I see a cheap flight and go through the booking process, only to be told at the end to pay a huge fee for using whatever card I have in my wallet.
Which? is going to make a super complaint about the amount of charges we face when trying to pay for things on our cards. I think this is a really irritating practice. But actually it’s much more than that – it’s a rip-off as the charges we’re asked to pay seem to bear no resemblance to the costs the airlines or retailers actually incur.
These charges are popping up everywhere, from buying tickets to using estate agents, cinemas and even the DVLA.
But low-cost airlines are among the worst offenders, with some charging a fee per passenger and per leg of the journey, in spite of the fact that they only have to process one transaction.
Low-cost airlines among the worst offenders
If I took my family – four of us – on a return flight with Ryanair, I’d be charged £40 to pay by card. If I flew with Flybe it would be £36 and £5.50 by Easyjet.
The cost to the airline? Around 20p to process a debit card payment and no more than 2% of the transaction value for a credit card.
Not only are the charges different between airlines, but you’re only told about them at the end of the booking process so it’s really hard to work out which airline is actually the cheapest when you’re shopping around.
Pennies – not pounds – to process
Our super complaint will highlight these problems and ask the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to investigate. There are three main things we want, which would sort this problem out.
First we want retailers to tell us upfront if they have surcharges – and how much they are.
Second, we want fair credit card charges – the costs to the consumer should be the same as the cost to the retailer.
Finally, as the 20p cost to the retailer is so low when using a debit card, we think they should absorb the cost directly and not pass it on.
We need to show the OFT that consumers are suffering as a result, which is where you come in. You can help our campaign by pledging your support.
What’s the most you’ve paid to use your card for a flight booking? Do you agree with what we want or can you think of other ways to make card surcharges fairer?