Charging excessively to pay by card is now against the law. Companies must ensure fees are cost reflective, which our research suggests should be no more thn 2% for credit cards and a matter of pence for debit cards.
We think eDreams, EasyBus, Vueling, Monarch, Jet2 and Germanwings are charging over the odds for paying by card. The worst offender was eDreams; we found examples of surcharges of more than 18% for customers paying by credit and even debit cards.
We referred these companies to Trading Standards to enforce the rules.
Which?, as a registered consumer charity, has special legal powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 enabling us to file super complaints with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). A super complaint allows us to complain to the OFT and specific regulators about market features that may be significantly harming consumers' interests.
Our super complaint asked the OFT to investigate the issue of excessive surcharges for debit and credit card purchases. We asked for:
Companies should tell consumers if they're going to charge for purchasing on credit or debit cards and what the cost will be. The information should be clear and in plain English in the advertising and promotions.
The cost of the charge to the consumer should be the same as the cost to the company.
As the cost of processing a debit card is so small, we think companies should absorb this cost – not pass it on to their customers.