Why rip-off card charges have no place in modern Britain

The charges will cease in January next year.
The charges will cease in January next year.

The British public know all too well when we’re being ripped off.

It might be something to do with our highly regarded sense of fair play, but we know when we’re getting a good deal - and when we’re getting a bad one

Which is why it has constantly rankled that when we pay for purchases by those little rectangles of plastic that banks are so happy to dish out, we have to pay a fee for the privilege.

It might not seem much - a 50p here or a small percentage there - but it all adds up.

Well thankfully not for much longer.

All charges we pay because we use plastic instead of cash - which is of course the only way to pay when buying anything online - will be banned.

Card fees which are levied routinely on everything from flights to cinema tickets, takeaway meals to renewing your road tax, will be banished as of January 2018, as the UK government is implementing an EU directive.

At Which? we couldn’t be more delighted that this extra “tax” on spending by consumers is being binned.

The ending of such surcharging is long overdue.

Previous action to protect consumers from excessive card surcharges has been difficult to enforce, leaving all of us paying over the odds just for paying by card.

These new rules will finally put an end to this unfair practice. For without doubt these fees have been a real moneyspinner for businesses and even government agencies.

The DVLA, for instance, charges a fee of £2.50 to tax vehicles using a credit card - it’s own data suggests it rakes in more than £8.5m a year by doing that.

As well as card payment fees going the way of the Dodo, Paypal and Apple Pay will also be affected, and there will no longer be fees attached to using those either. It’s fantastic news for consumers - but we’ll be watching to see if businesses just up their prices to absorb the loss. Right now though we couldn’t agree more with the government: rip-off charges have no place in modern Britain.