Government must deliver on surcharges ban77% of consumers say surcharges are unfair

01 September 2012

airline charges

The government must now act quickly to meet its promise to ban excessive credit and debit card surcharges by the end of the year as it launches its consultation in the area, Which? has warned. 

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' (BIS) has today published a consultation on banning excessive credit and debit card surcharges, after Which? successfully lobbied the government to introduce a ban by the end of 2012.

Speaking about the launch of the consultation, consumer affairs minister Norman Lamb said: 'We want consumers to be able to pay for their goods and services without being hit by excessive hidden charges. 

'It can often be frustrating when purchasing a product or a service online, to find out only towards the end of the transaction that the final price is much higher due to things like payment surcharges. These proposals will stop companies from adding on these excessive charges, and allow consumers to see a clearer and more transparent breakdown of what they are paying for.'

Unfair 'rip-off' surcharges 

New Which? research reveals that consumers are fed up with having to pay surcharges for buying flights, train and theatre tickets with their credit and debit cards. Some 84% of consumers told Which? that they felt there shouldn't be any extra fees charged to consumers for paying by credit or debit card.

Over three quarters (77%) of people polled thought these fees were unfair. In addition, 74% of those who had encountered fees in the last year thought that any additional fees for paying by card should already be included in the price quoted before payment, up from 67% in 2011.

Just under half (43%) of people have encountered a fee for paying by credit card or debit card in the last year, a rise of eight percent on 2011. As in 2011, travel and event ticket sales were the two most common areas for these fees.

Tell us your thoughts: We want to hear your views on card surcharges. Tells your thoughts on Which? Conversation. 

Government must act quickly on 'rip-off' surcharges

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, said: 'Over 50,000 people supported our campaign to ban excessive fees so this well-overdue consultation is a step in the right direction.

'The Government must ensure that all businesses only charge the genuine cost they incur for processing the payment and that they are upfront, and make this clear to consumers. We also want to see a robust enforcement regime in place to make sure firms are held to account if they flout the ban.

'The government must now act quickly to meet its promise to ban these excessive charges by the end of the year.'

More on this...

  • Campaign to end 'rip-off' surcharges - find out more about the work we have done
  • Your credit card rights - what protection is offered by paying by credit card
  • Best credit card deals - find the card to suit your borrowing needs