I’d like to start by wishing you all a very Happy New Year.
The first six months of 2018 is set to be a busy time for the travel industry, not only as the industry has its traditionally busiest sales period, but as we deal with three significant regulatory changes – a ban on credit card charges, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the introduction of revised Package Travel Regulations.
In just over a week’s time (13 January) the Payment Services Directive 2 will come into force, meaning businesses will no longer be able to charge consumers a fee for paying by credit or debit card (this doesn’t apply to corporate cards). Travel companies will need to have incorporated these new requirements into their business practices in time for the new law. We have guidance available for Members which explains what you need to do make sure you are compliant with the new rules, and we also have a letter you can use to try to negotiate the costs you are charged (more details available here).
Although this regulation applies to all industries, we have been making the point to Government that it is a particular problem for travel firms given the high value of transactions and that regulation designed to reduce the costs of taking card payments has not been effective – leaving travel companies picking up the bill for these payments which in some cases may be extremely high.
While it won’t be possible to reverse the Payment Services Directive 2, we will further highlight to Government the need for them to properly enforce its aims of increased competition and lower costs. Thank you to all of you who submitted evidence about the fees you are currently charged, this will help us to make the case to Government that a review of the card payment market is needed.
In terms of the other big changes coming down the line, the Government is expected to publish its draft wording on the revised Package Travel Regulations early this year. The industry has been waiting for the detailed wording on the draft regulations for some time now, and we are continuing to raise concerns with Government about the lack of time for industry to prepare for the changes. Once the final changes are clear, we will provide a range of materials and services to help you to get your businesses ready for change, where necessary. Finally, if you are still to review your business practices in light of the new GDPR, we have plenty of guidance and support available to help you do this here.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive