In­debted Bri­tain to scrap credit card charges

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

Lon­don, UK - The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment on Wed­nes­day said it would ban com­pa­nies from charg­ing con­sumers for pay­ing by debit and credit cards, as the coun­try strug­gles to bring down its debt.

“This is about fair­ness and trans­parency, and so from next year, there will be no more nasty sur­prises for peo­ple at the check­out just for us­ing a card,” Eco­nomic Sec­re­tary to the Trea­sury, Stephen Bar­clay, said in a state­ment.

Con­sumers mak­ing pur­chases in Bri­tain are be­ing asked to pay up to 20 per cent more on their bills, such as for flights, for us­ing a card rather than cash, the Trea­sury said.

“With many feel­ing the squeeze in the cost of liv­ing, peo­ple shouldn't be hit with un­ex­pected fees,” said Guy Anker, manag­ing edi­tor at con­sumer web­site, MoneySav­ingEx­

But he cau­tioned that fol­low­ing the change, some com­pa­nies would likely raise prices of their goods and ser­vices ‘to com­pen­sate for the loss, which could hit those who cur­rently pay in cash’.

Cur­rently, busi­nesses face charges from card com­pa­nies for non-cash trans­ac­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to the Trea­sury, the to­tal value of sur­charges for debit and credit cards was an es­ti­mated £473mn in 2010.

‘This ac­tion forms part of our wider help for fam­i­lies with the cost of liv­ing by help­ing to raise their in­comes and keep more of what they earn’, the Trea­sury said.

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