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Shops will finally be banned from charging extra for card payments next week

However, there's an annoying catch

Shops will finally be banned from charging extra for card payments next week
Tom Victor
05 January 2018

Ever paid £1 for a 50p pack of chewing gum because you were too lazy to walk to a cashpoint and had to pay the card charge?

Of course you have, because you’re human.

And besides, the potential drop in the number of free-to-use ATMs could mean a bit of a walk to the nearest one anyway, meaning you’re happy to swallow that extra cost to avoid unnecessary exercise.

However, it could soon be a thing of the past, with new legislation coming in later this month which – in theory at least – will stop retailers (and other companies) from including separate arbitrary charges for paying by card.

It applies to both credit and debit cards, both online and in-store, as well as methods such as PayPal and Apple Pay, but it might not quite be the clean break you’d hoped.


The new rules come as a result of the EU’s Payment Services Directive, and will finally come into force on 13 January.

Under the current system, companies had been able to make card charges equivalent to the amount it cost them to process card transactions – often 50p or less at cornershops or bars, but even this could be a significant percentage of what you ended up spending.

Last year, MoneySavingExpert made reference to some of the existing costs and charges which could be wiped out as a result of the changes: costs which you look likely to now avoid.

The changes mean any EU-based company catering to customers from the European Union will be impacted, and over here any UK company serving British customers will have to stop charging that extra fee.

Obviously that means you’ll still have the same charges if you wind up buying online goods from America, or if you purchase gig tickets from a company that’s based offshore, but there’s another issue you might not have considered.


If a retailer is unable to tag on that additional charge for card payments, they may be tempted to up prices of certain items to make up the shortfall.

That means if you’re one of those people who always has cash to hand, you might end up paying more than before. That’s not a guarantee, though, and you’re certainly more likely to notice the money you’re not spending on inconvenient card charges than you are to feel the pinch of paying an extra 5p here and there at your local off licence.

However, with more and more of us rarely carrying cash, the EU’s attempts to take ‘an important step towards a Digital Single Market in Europe’ make some sense.

Of course, the future of these changes when the UK leaves the European Union are another matter altogether.

(Images: Pexels/iStock)