East Lothian Council

Card payment surcharges now banned

Published Tuesday 23rd January 18

Benefits and arrears

New legislation affects businesses and consumers

Following a change in UK government legislation, which came into force on 13 January 2018, retailers are no longer allowed to impose a surcharge on payments made by credit cards or debit cards.

East Lothian Council Depute Leader, Cllr Norman Hampshire, said:

"Since the new legislation came into place early this month the council’s Trading Standards team have received five complaints from local residents concerning card payments made at local businesses which have had an additional surcharge applied. Whilst Trading Standards will contact the businesses concerned it’s clear that many local retailers may not be aware of the change to legislation which applies to all goods and services purchased."

"A typical charge added tended to be around 2% but sometimes consumers were being charged a flat fee regardless of how much they were spending and these small charges could really add up if you regularly used a card for payment. Some retailers may choose to raise their standard prices to cover the cost of processing debit or credit card payments or even stop accepting cards altogether. If any consumer or business requires further information they can contact Trading Standards for advice."

The new legislation now means that businesses cannot impose any surcharge for using the following methods of payment:

  • Consumer credit cards, debit cards and charge cards
  • Similar payment methods that are not card-based (for example, mobile phone-based payment methods)
  • Electronic payment services (for example, PayPal)

If a retailer tries to charge you a fee simply because you are choosing to pay by card, you can refuse and report it in confidence to Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline - call 03454 040506

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