The end to paying for paying

Rebecca Rutt's picture

Finally some good news this week as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) came out in support of consumers and agreed to stop travel companies charging us for using a debit card to pay for something.

‘Paying for paying’ is a ridiculous system that these companies have gotten away with for too long.

This cost is normally added on right at the very end when you’re paying for something and the OFT says this makes it hard for consumers to be able to accurately compare different travel companies.

Charges on debit cards will now be abolished, and surcharges on credit cards will have to be made clearer on company’s websites.

This is great news for customers. Why should we have to pay an extra £5 just to use our debit card? It doesn’t cost the company anywhere near this amount to process the payment. This money is almost like us paying for the privilege of using a certain company and giving its employees a bonus.

Recently I booked a flight to Berlin with (you guessed it) Ryanair. Despite my hatred of the company it does still have pretty cheap flights - but going through the booking process did bring me out in quite a rage. For a company that offers such cheap flights why don’t it just advertise the final price from the offset? It makes me really angry how it sneaks in all the extra ‘administration’ fees along the way?

Sadly, despite the OFT announcement, the budget airline provider won’t be changing its ways any time soon either. It said it doesn’t currently charge a surcharge for card fees and the fees for using a card fall under the bracket of ‘administration’.

The OFT changes are on the back of a super complaint by consumer association Which? back in February. At the time, Stephen McNamara from Ryanair came out with a scathing attack towards the consumer group calling it “useless and irrelevant”.

He said: “Before making ‘Super Duper Complaints’ the clueless clowns at ‘Which, Who or What’ magazine, should conduct some basic research. Ryanair does not levy any credit or debit card payment ‘surcharges’.”

So for now Ryanair will continue charging its fees but those companies that do charge an extra surcharge for using a card will have to change their ways. This is a great achievement for consumers but the OFT should now push for any fees to be abolished when paying for a card – whatever they are classed as.

Your Comments

Before consumer groups start a moan, maybe they should investigate the facts. In this case, the cards fees are levied on the travel company by the card services provider. Every business (that wants to stay in business) has to cover its cost of operations. If a consumer pays by credit card, then the business costs go up. Different sizes of business get charged different fees, depending on the card services provider and for a small independent travel business this can be significant. Why should these businesses have their very small margins eroded away by having to swallow these costs. Currently it is transparent to the consumer, as the fees are explained clearly to the consumer when they pay. If they can not be declared separately in the future, the effect will be to drive them into the overall operating cost of the business and everyone will have to pay for them.

WILL IT HAPPEN?? The great if you are delayed law brought in by the E.U Cannot be implemented due to an appeal, and most airlines now rearrange for ten mins before they have to compensate, Its all greed today I wish I was running an Airline what a different company it would be and watch jet2 they charge you more if you are booking from europe than the uk all the fees are higher give it a go europe to uk see the prices suitcases, seats then do uk to the same place you are paying nearly £5 difference an item

By increasing the original ticket price the fees will still be paid by the customer but they will have a clearer idea of the overall cost before making a decision to use that company/airline.

I really don't understand what the fuss is about. Customers will still pay the same, companies will still receive the same payment. The only difference will be the level of transparency offered to customers which will aid making informed choices.

I dont think it would be fair if they hid the charges in with the price of the flight.
I went out of my way to get an electron card (for easyjet) and a pre-paid mastercard (for ryanair) to avoid paying these fees.
It isnt that hard to get the cards and you get some satisfaction in knowing that you are playing (and beating) the airlines at their own game.

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