Businesses prepare for credit card charge ban

From Saturday, businesses and service providers will no longer be allowed to levy a surcharge on credit and debit card purchases.

The ban was announced in July last year, after campaigners complained that some shoppers in the UK were being charged up to 20 per cent extra when paying by card.

The measure will encompass all major methods of card payment, including American express and Apply Pay.

Announcing the ban, Stephen Barclay, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “Rip-off charges have no place in a modern Britain and that’s why card charging in Britain is about to come to an end.

“These small charges can really add up and this change will mean shoppers across the country have that bit of extra cash to spend on the things that matter to them.”

Gareth Shaw, a Which? money expert, added: “These new rules should finally put an end to consumers paying excessive surcharges and additional fees just for using their cards.

“Trading Standards must now make sure this ban is enforced across the board, and that businesses can’t find sneaky ways around it.”

Experts suggest that the ban will primarily affect businesses, which will now be forced to absorb the costs charged by banks to process card payments.

Alternatively, businesses could choose to pass these costs on to consumers through higher prices.

Just Eat, the takeaway app, earnt criticism this week after it announced it would replace the fee with a 50p service charge. This is allowed under the new laws, providing the service charge is levied on all payments – including cash.

A spokesperson for the company said: “The 50p charge simply means that along with our restaurant partners, we can continue to deliver the best possible takeaway experience, and applying the charge equally across the customer base ensures fairness for all.”