1,000% increase in airline surcharges in seven yearsWhich? reminds Mark Hoban to ban debit card surcharges

04 December 2011

Mark Hoban 40 cupcakes

Which? sent Mark Hoban 40 cupcakes to remind him of the £40m airlines have collected on debit card surcharges

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, has said he’s shocked at the fluctuation in debit card surcharges over the last seven years as some airlines have increased them by over 1,000%.

Richard Lloyd said: ‘We believe that payment surcharges should be fair, proportionate and transparent and there's no justification for airlines to charge £9 for something that costs the business about 20p.’

Which? is waiting for financial secretary, Mark Hoban, to , after our super complaint about surcharges was upheld by the Office of Fair Trading. 

Flybe, Ryanair and Easyjet

Some of the worst offending airlines are Flybe, Ryanair and Easyjet. 

The consumer price index increased by 24% for the period of 2004 to 2011. In the equivalent period, Flybe has increased its surcharge prices by 1,025% and Ryanair by 1,400%.

Payments by debit card used to be free for Easyjet in 2004 and now cost £8. Easyjet has also increased the cost of its credit card payments by 50%.

British Airways, BMI

British Airways has gone from offering all payments for free to charging £4.50 for credit cards. The company has kept debit card payments free of charge.

We think the real cost of processing a credit card transaction is no more than two percent of the value of the purchase. Retailers often charge a fixed value – so you could end paying more than the true cost.

BMI increased its credit card charge by 12.5% but does not charge for debit cards.

The surcharge campaign

We want the Treasury and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to agree on a solution that will make payment surcharges fair, proportionate and transparent.

We were delighted when the Office of Fair Trading upheld our super complaint and the European Parliament agreed to cap debit card surcharges across Europe via an amendment in the Consumer Rights Directive which will come into force in June 2014.

Payment Services Regulations

However, the Treasury could make an immediate change to consumers' lives by banning debit card surcharges in the UK by amending the Payment Services Regulations. We're waiting on a decision from financial secretary Mark Hoban – and reminding him with our daily surcharge counter – that he should ban surcharging on all debit cards.

More on this…

• to ask him to implement the ban
Join the surcharge debate on Which? Conversation
Find out why we delivered 40 cupcakes to Mark Hoban…