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Creditfix LB 03-2017

Payment Card Fee Charging Continues Despite Ban

Consumers are still being charged to use credit cards despite the government ban introduced last Saturday 13 January.

Research by MoneySavingExpert has found that a number of small businesses and even councils are still charging consumers a fee for using cards, despite the practice now being illegal.

Lambeth Council was wrongly charging residents a 1.65 per cent fee after the ban was introduced. One man who tried to pay his council tax bill on Saturday said: ‘Lambeth Council told me they no longer charge so I paid by credit card. And guess what – they surcharged me.’

A spokesman for the council said that customers should no longer be charged for paying by credit card and added: ‘We apologise for any initial administrative errors, and will make refunds as appropriate.’

Green energy provider East London Energy also admitted that they had continued to charge a one per cent fee after the ban came in. The company has now stopped charging the fee and confirmed that they would refund anybody who was wrongly charged after the deadline.

However, another company, Kelvin Kabs, a small minicab firm in the Glasgow area has said that it will continue to charge a 50p ‘service fee’ to customers who pay by card. A fee that will not be charged to cash payers.

The company claimed that it is a ‘service’ fee not a ‘transaction’ fee, saying: ‘It’s a slight grey area – customer are welcome to pay by cash if they don’t want that service.’

It has already been reported that some companies including fast food delivery firm Just Eat are applying a service charge to all customers including cash payers to replace the card fees. Other companies plan to either refuse credit card payments or increase prices across the board.

Consumer experts have called for regulatory enforcement to ensure businesses cannot dodge the rules. Previously many councils, travel firms and shops were charging customers paying by credit card as much as 3 per cent of their purchase, despite Interchange fees that the retailers have to pay card companies being capped at 0.3 per cent by an EU ruling in December 2015.

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