“Rip off” card payment fees will be banned from next year as the Government has announced that paying by card will be free for consumers from next year.
All consumer-facing credit and debit fees, which can be as high as 20 per cent, will be outlawed from next year under an EU rule change.
For decades surcharges have been used by shops, public houses, restaurants and travel firms to make extra profit at the direct expense of customers choosing to pay by card.
They are also used by councils, HMRC, and other government agencies including the DVLA to squeeze extra money out of consumers.
But from January 2018 organisations caught charging customers for card payments will be ordered by authorities repay the fees, with those who refuse facing fines worth thousands of pounds.
The UK ban will apply to consumers paying with Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and American Express cards, the Treasury confirmed.
Last night consumer groups welcomed the move, saying it would give consumers the confidence to buy items on card without worrying about having extra money “snatched” from them at the checkout.
James Daley, director at consumer campaign group, Fairer Finance, said: “Card fees are a way of being able to snatch an extra few pounds off customers when they were at the checkout, so it is good news that this will be ending.
The Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regualtions 2012 state a trader must not charge consumers, in respect of the use of a given means of payment, fees that exceed the cost borne by the trader for the use of that means.
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