Credit cards Updated:
The cost of booking flights, train seats or concert tickets is to become less painful for consumers, thanks to a new Government ban on large surcharges.
Up until last Saturday (6 April), retailers and businesses had been allowed to impose hefty charges for debit and credit card payments, particularly online transactions. Airline companies were found to be the worst offenders, with passengers incurring up to £350 million in surcharges for booking flights during 2010.
Figures from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) revealed that consumers were being charged over 50p for making transactions on their credit or debit cards.
Under the new rules, companies will only be permitted to charge a small amount to warrant the cost of processing the payment. Small businesses and those which have launched very recently will be exempt from the ruling, however, until June 2014.
Selected firms, such as those in financial services, property, healthcare and social services may also be excluded from the ban.
The Government was due to pass the ruling next year, but bought it forward due to concerns by consumer groups that the charges were ripping off customers.
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