From 13 January 2018 it will be illegal for businesses of any type to charge additional fees for paying with a debit or credit card within the EU.
The directive is known as the Payment Services Directive (PSD2). The extra fees tend to be charged by airlines, concert and theatre booking sites, take away food sites and government agencies such as the DVLA and HMRC.
Such organisations will be required to change their payment policies.
While banks charge 10p - 20p per debit card transaction and 0.6% for credit cards, small businesses tend to charge more. Under the Consumer Credit Act, firms are only meant to charge fees that reflect their actual costs.
UK retailers spent £800m on these charges last year.
While the forthcoming change in the law is likely to see prices for goods and services increase, consumers will no longer be “stung” by unexpected fees at the check out.
At present, some shops and pubs require a minimum spend of £5 or £10 for debit/credit card transactions. This will not be illegal under the new directive.
The law will not be affected by the UK’s departure from the EU in 2019, although in theory it could be repealed.
Here at startrescue.co.uk and our Travel Insurance sister site starttravel.co.uk we have never charged extra fees for debit or credit card transactions. And we will continue to operate a transparent pricing policy for all our insurance products.