Credit and debit card surcharges to be banned in UK from Saturday 13th January

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EU directive “Payment Services Directive (PSD2)” comes into force this Saturday, banning credit and debit card surcharge on all transactions. Here’s what businesses need to know.

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Current rules allow companies to charge a percentage of your total transaction amount as a surcharge, typically around 2%. The charge should amount only to what they are charged by payment providers.

From this Saturday, all surcharges for debit and credit card payments are to be banned.

The reguations are based on an EU directive but will continue to apply after Brexit as they will be part of UK law.

Does this mean prices will go up?

It’s possible some companies will choose to put their prices up across the board to make up for the shortfall in revenue from card surcharges. This week, Just Eat announced a 50p surcharge across all payment methods, including cash. This is within the new law as it doesn’t single out credit and debit card payments but rather introduces one across the board payment surcharge.

When you consider that an estimated £50 million of Just-Eat’s annual revenue is from card surcharges, it’s easy to see why they’ve done this, regardless of the consumer backlash.

The BBC reports that British retailers spend around £800m per year on debit and credit card surcharges and that it’s “likely that firms may well put up prices”. However they also sugest that it would be hard to do so “as their headline prices will become more transparent”.

Are minimum card payments affected?

Smaller businesses often impose a minimum payment by debit or credit card to cover the costs of surcharges and fees. This won’t be impacted under the new law, so they can continue if they so wish.

Whether smaller businesses stop accepting cards under the new directive remains to be seen.

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