4 JULY 2011


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Article from BTNews 4 JULY 2011

Debit card clamp down

Airlines who add disproportionate amounts to debit card charges will face action under consumer protection laws, the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced.   OFT estimates UK consumers spent £300m on payment surcharges during 2009.

In a statement, clearly aimed at some airlines who are economical with the truth regarding the actual cost of booking, the OFT is emphatic.  “We believe there is (also) a strong case for a change in the law so that the cost of using a debit card, the almost universal payment method for today's online consumers, is always included within the headline price.”

The cost of processing debit cards is estimated to be 20p a transaction, but companies have been found to add up to £8 to final bills for payment by a debit card.  Businesses negotiate charges with their credit card handler, with the arrangement per transaction normally fixed at between £2 and £4.

Whilst British Airways and Monarch (and Eurostar) do not charge for the use of a debit card, Ryanair has come up with a £6 administration fee per passenger, per flight or £12 for a return trip.  For a typical family of four this adds £48 to the holiday bill. www.oft.gov.uk

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