Belfast Telegraph

Ruling by EU could mark end of credit card charges

By Charlie Weston

Consumers will no longer have to pay surcharges for using credit cards from the start of next year. New European Union rules will ban the charge that can add 2% to the cost of goods or services.

The worst offenders currently are airlines and ticket sellers, and small businesses which typically add a fee for cards.

But the revised EU Payment Services Directive will ban surcharging on all payment cards covered by the EU Interchange Fee Regulation.

It comes into force on January 13, according to a spokeswoman for the Republic’s Department of Finance.

This means a merchant will no longer be able to charge extra for accepting a consumer card covered by that regulation.

This will ban surcharges on Visa and Mastercard credit card payments.

The spokeswoman said this would lead to the end of surcharging on the vast majority of consumer cards.

However, some cards not covered by EU rules will still be able to impose surcharges. These are understood to include Diners Club and American Express cards.

If a merchant imposes surcharges on those cards, the surcharge must not exceed the direct costs borne by the merchant to accept the card.

Ryanair imposes a 2% surcharge on the value of transactions for those who pay by credit card. A Ryanair spokesman said: “If there are any changes to the law in this area, then we will comply with it as we always do.

“Our credit card charge reflects the cost of processing credit card payments, including bank charges.”

Consumer groups said the change in the law is likely to mean some companies will simply put up their prices, to make up for the loss of charges they impose on card payments.

Other entities guilty of heavy surcharges include takeaway firms Hungryhouse and Just Eat as well as the DVLA which charges a flat fee of £2.50 for using a card.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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