Jo bans unfair payment surcharges

Local MP and Consumer Minister Jo Swinson is introducing legislation today that will prevent consumers being unfairly charged for using payment methods like credit or debit cards as of April.

This will allow people to see the cost of their purchase upfront as traders will no longer be able to make a profit by charging the consumer for credit or debit card use above the amount it costs them to process that payment.

Traders who treat consumers fairly will no longer be disadvantaged when compared to those who use less transparent practices luring consumers towards less competitive offers.

The Government announced the plans in response to recommendations from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), after the consumer body Which? highlighted the scale of the problem. The work will complement enforcement and compliance work by the OFT to ensure that add-on charges generally are transparent and consumers are able to compare prices more effectively.

Commenting Jo said:

“No one wants to be hit by excessive hidden charges. I’m sure many local residents have been frustrated when they get towards the end of an online purchase only to find out that the final price is much higher thanks to payment surcharges.

“Consumers who fully understand the final price they will pay are able to make better comparisons and keep more money in their pockets.

“That’s why we’re limiting the fees that traders can charge to consumers for using particular methods of payment, stopping traders from adding on these excessive charges so consumers get a clearer and more transparent breakdown of what they are paying for.”

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