Card surcharges to be banned

From 13 January 2018, it will be illegal for businesses to charge customers an extra fee for paying by credit or debit card, under the EU's Payment Services Directive 2.

Though this could save money for consumers, the costs for businesses may have to be balanced elsewhere.

Some retailers are considering introducing new service charges, increasing shelf prices or refusing to accept credit card payments altogether.

It will also still be legal to require a minimum spend for card payments under the new rules.

The charges that businesses face were capped in 2015, to 0.3% for credit card transactions and 0.2% for debit cards.

However, the cap does not apply to all card providers, and some businesses are still burdened with higher costs.

The government says it will engage with retailers to assess how they can be helped further.

Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

"There's hypocrisy here. HMRC is happy to stop personal credit card payments as they consider them too expensive to process, while small firms are forced to absorb the costs when they accept cards.

"What we should be seeing is businesses and the government working together to bring down the costs to firms of processing card payments."

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