Bank Cards: Fees and Charges

Treasury written question – answered on 10th January 2022.

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Photo of Nick Brown Nick Brown Chair, Finance Committee (Commons), Chair, Finance Committee (Commons)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what enforcement action his Department takes on companies which issue minimum spend card payment charges.

Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

It remains the individual merchant or retailer’s choice whether to set a certain ‘minimum spend’ for a certain type of payment instrument, and whether to accept or decline any form of payment.

Surcharging, the practice of merchants or retailers charging a fee to the customer for using a certain payment instrument (e.g., a debit card or credit card) has been banned since 2018 through amendments made to the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012. For most UK retail payments, these Regulations ban merchants from charging a fee in addition to the advertised price of a transaction on the basis of a consumer’s choice of payment instrument payments.

The Regulations give consumer enforcement authorities (including local authority Trading Standards and the Northern Ireland Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment) the power to take civil enforcement action against traders who breach the Regulations. Customers are also entitled to receive a refund of any unlawful surcharge they have paid and, if necessary, to take legal action to recover any such surcharge.

For further information on surcharging, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published guidance at the following webpage: www.gov.uk/government/publications/payment-surcharges

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