West Berkshire Council

Being charged extra to use a credit or debit card is now illegal

Important changes to card fees were introduced on Saturday 13 January.

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Did you know that as a consumer being charged extra to use a credit or debit card became illegal from Saturday 13 January 2018?

The Public Protection Partnership's Trading Standards service, which works with consumers and businesses across Bracknell, West Berkshire and Wokingham, explains how the card surcharge ban will work.

From Saturday 13 January 2018 all businesses are affected by the European Union (EU) Payment Services Directive and will have to change their payment policies to reflect the change in the law. Typically airlines, theatre and concert booking sites are among those that have applied surcharges.

The days of a hefty fee for simply paying by credit or debit card are over. Before the change in law on Saturday 13 January 2018, many retailers charged consumers to pay with a credit card up to three percent on some transactions, a substantial amount, particularly on more expensive purchases.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, business owners and operators can only pass on charges that genuinely reflect the cost banks charge them to process the card transaction. This is about 10 pence or 20 pence for debit cards and about 0.6 percent of the transaction charge for credit cards.

Councillor Norman Jorgensen from Wokingham Borough Council, and Chairman of the Public Protection Partnership, said "Under the new ban, retailers can no longer charge customers any fees for using a credit or debit card to make payment, other than the much smaller cost to cover their bank charges, typically 10 pence or 20 pence per card transaction."

He went on to say: "The system is policed by Trading Standards Officers at local authorities. If you have been charged excessive fees after the change in law last Saturday, 13 January 2018, call the Public Protection Partnership Trading Standards service on 01635 519930."

The Public Protection Partnership is a shared service provided by Bracknell Forest Borough District Council, West Berkshire District Council and Wokingham Borough Council.