Last night, a rip-off that has cost UK citizens hundreds of millions of pounds a year was finally outlawed. All extra charges levied on the use of credit or debit card to pay for goods and services stand banned, which means no more nasty surprises at the checkout, according to the government.
Some companies are however, already looking for ways to get around the ban such as simply renaming the fee so that any reference to cards is avoided. Earlier this week, online takeaway outlet Just Eat faced customer ire over replacement of its 50p card payment charge with a 50p ”service charge” on all orders, which would apply whether the payment is with cash or card.
Meanwhile, a number of businesses and government departments including HM Revenue & Customs have taken what some might see as a rather drastic decision to stop accepting personal credit card payments altogether.
Until now, card payments have attracted fees for payments on everything from low-cost flights and tax bills to cinema tickets and takeaway meals.
A fee was also imposed by many small shops and businesses and at times it was an extra charge of perhaps 1 per cent or 2 per cent, while in other cases it was a flat fee, which could add as much as 15 per cent to 20 per cent to the bill.
According to economic secretary to the Treasury John Glenn, it is a response to public frustration.
“I think for too long consumers have been fed up when they get this sneaky charge added to the end of a transaction be it online or anywhere… this ban will go for debit, credit cards and PayPal including Amex, so there is no uncertainty,” he said, news.sky.com reported.
UK consumers paid 166 million in surcharges in 2015. However, businesses justify the high costs citing high costs to process the payments by the credit card companies or banks.