Credit card fee ban: American Express hails end of charging customers

Oliver Gill
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New rules will come into force from 13 January (Source: Getty)

One of the world's biggest credit card firms has welcomed a UK ban preventing charges being passed on to customers.

Enshrining European directives in UK law, companies will not be able to pass on the fees to customers from tomorrow. This means pesky charges on everything from plane tickets to concerts will disappear.

Credit card firms will still make the charges, but firms big and small will have to wear the costs themselves.

American Express vice president Robert Glick said:

American Express welcomes the government’s ban on surcharging of consumer payment products, which comes into effect on January 13. This decision will create a level playing field for consumers and will give them the confidence to use the payment method of their choice.

Regulatory specialist Richard Humphreys at law firm Blake Morgan warned: "Businesses that do not comply not only risk fines and the cost of refunding wrongful surcharges, but also substantial reputational damage.

"While the new regulations are to be welcomed for enhancing consumer protection and security, all businesses will need to consider the financial impact and plan accordingly."

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Scrapping credit card fees for customers is only one part of the wider overhaul scheduled to kick in on 13 January.

The new rules follow the implementation of a 2013 directive that restricted businesses to only passing on credit card charges at the same rate they are charged by the likes of Mastercard and Visa.

Tomorrow's changes will only apply to UK companies selling to UK customers – although this directive is being implemented across all EU member states.

It will also apply to councils and government agencies, such as the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, which charges £2.50 for all credit card transactions.

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