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January 2018

Card payment fee ban has come into force

Card payment fee ban has come into force

Ensure you're not adding a card payment surcharge.

Current rules stipulate that companies should only charge customers what it costs them to process a debit or credit card. They shouldn't make a profit from these surcharges.

New rules, that came into effect on 13 January 2018, mean customers cannot be penalised for choosing to pay by card, either online or in-store. Companies will be banned from charging any fees for credit or debit card payments.

If you have an online payment facility or a card payment machine then is likely that an external provider manages the payment process - they should be fully aware of this new regulation.

However, if you process any card payments please be aware that you can no longer add a payment surcharge to card paying customers. The ban also includes other linked ways of paying such as PayPal or Apple Pay.

What are your options?

Whilst your company will still be getting charged for taking payment through these channels the ruling is to ensure customers are not penalised for paying by card. The regulation bans explicitly adding such a charge on to the customer.

So, it is a case of either not passing anything on or attempting to increase the general price level accordingly so that the charges incurred are covered in that.

If your company has been adding a surcharge then it would be advisable to estimate the monthly/annual fees or charges that you have to pay and the amount that you have previously been able to pass on so that you are aware of the financial costs of this. This information may help you make the decision as to whether you need to increase prices accordingly or reassure you that you can take the hit on it.

Confused?

It appears the new regulations currently only apply to consumers and businesses can still be charged fees on the use of business credit cards - but such charges should only be the amount it costs to process the transaction.  According to MoneySavingExpert .com:

"The surcharge rules are based on how you pay not who you are, though. So if you pay with a business credit card you can be charged extra, but if you're a business owner using your personal credit credit you can't be charged the surcharge."

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