Published on Monday, April 8, 2013
A ban on rip-off debit and credit card charges came into force over the weekend, meaning airlines and other travel providers will no longer be able to charge customers any more than it costs them to process payments by plastic.
The government said that in many cases the surcharge for paying by Visa or Mastercard should be minimal.
For example, according to the Office of Fair Trading, someone spending £100 on a travel ticket could expect to be charged 53 pence extra if using a debit card, or £2.10 if using a credit card.
The figures, produced in 2011, suggest the cost of using a debit card remains at just over 50 pence, however large the transaction, said the BBC.
But the government said charges will differ according to individual businesses.
In the past, the airline industry was the worst offender, charging passenger up to £350m in card surcharges.
Following an investigation by the OFT, airlines agreed to include debit card charges in their headline prices, but some, including Ryanair, introduced an 'admin' fee. Ryanair has sinced introduced a 2% credit card surcharge in addition to its £6 admin fee.
The ferry industry was the next biggest user of surcharges, according to the government, charging its customers up to £145m.
People are entitled to receive a refund of the excess surcharge they have paid, according to the government. If necessary, they can bring a private claim to recover such surcharges.
Consumer affairs minister Jo Swinson told the BBC: "The practice of excessive payment surcharges has been ripping off consumers for far too long.
"They are fed up of thinking they will be paying a certain price for goods, only to find out towards the end of the process that the final price is much higher."
Very small businesses and start-up companies will not be subject to the rules until June 2014.
Some firms in financial services, gambling, healthcare, social services, property and passenger transport are also excluded.
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