Plans to scrap hefty debit and credit card charges


New proposals to prevent consumers being unfairly charged for using credit and debit cards were announced on September 3 by consumer affairs minister Norman Lamb.

If the new rules come into force, traders will no longer be able to profit by charging more for credit or debit card usage than it costs them to process the payment.

This ensures that consumers are aware of the costs they are committing to and that traders who treat consumers fairly are not disadvantaged by those who use less transparent practices to lure consumers.

Mr Lamb said: "We want consumers to be able to pay for their goods and services without being hit by excessive hidden charges. That is why we are consulting on limiting the fees that traders can charge to consumers for using particular methods of payment.

"It can often be frustrating when purchasing a product or a service online, to find out only towards the end of the transaction that the final price is much higher due to things like payment surcharges.

"These proposals will stop companies from adding on these excessive charges, and allow consumers to see a clearer and more transparent breakdown of what they are paying for."

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd welcomed the news. He said: "Over 50,000 people supported our campaign to ban excessive fees so this well overdue consultation is a step in the right direction.

"The government must ensure that all businesses only charge the genuine cost they incur for processing the payment and that they are upfront, and make this clear to consumers. We also want to see a robust enforcement regime in place to make sure firms are held to account if they flout the ban.

"The government must now act quickly to meet its promise to ban these excessive charges by the end of the year."

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