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Surcharge card ban: What will this mean for you?

The end of extra payments forced on customers using cards has been praised.

Companies had made an estimated £473 million from card surcharges each year.
Companies had made an estimated £473 million from card surcharges each year. AP

A ban on "rip-off" extra payments forced on customers using debit or credit cards has taken effect - and shoppers are urged to report any retailers flouting the new EU rules.

Consumer groups have welcomed the ban but raised concerns consumers may see the cost of goods and services creep up, or extra fees added by retailers, as a result of the changes.

  • What are the surcharges being banned?

The surcharges meant consumers were paying from 2% to 20% more for purchases.

They included British Airways charging a 1% fee of up to £20 on credit cards, Ryanair charging 2% on credit cards and the DVLA a £2.50 fee on credit cards.

The ban, which came into being on January 13, applies to any online payments, credit transfers and direct debits and through linked ways of paying such as PayPal or Apple Pay.

  • Are all booking fees being scrapped?

No. This ban won't affect booking or admin fees for theatre, concert and cinema tickets or cash machines charges.

Companies can apply these extra fees as long as they also apply to other forms of payment and they can still set a minimum card payment.

Businesses ranging from takeaway apps to airlines have applied surcharges.
Businesses ranging from takeaway apps to airlines have applied surcharges. PA
  • Will retailers find another way of charging?

Companies are allowed to charge new service fees to all customers, as long as they apply regardless of which method of payment is used.

For example, Just Eat, which used to charge 50p for debit or credit card payments, introduced a 50p service charge on all orders days before the ban took affect.

So shoppers have been warned that overall prices could rise.

  • What happens when Britain leaves the EU?

It won't affect the ban because, although it is based on an EU directive, it is a UK law change.

Consumers are urged to report any businesses still applying surcharges to Trading Standards.
Consumers are urged to report any businesses still applying surcharges to Trading Standards. PA
  • What do I do if I'm overcharged?

Consumers should complain to the company and request a refund.

People are also urged to report any businesses still charging for card payments to Trading Standards.

Gareth Shaw, from Which? Money, said: "The Government and regulator need to closely monitor the effectiveness of the ban - and the fees banks charge retailers for card payments - to ensure that it has the positive impact for consumers originally intended."

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