23 Nov

Important information on debit and credit card charges

As Members will be aware from 13 January 2018 you will no longer be able to charge a fee for credit or debit card payments. The clear intention of the EU when it introduced the Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR) back in 2015 was to lower the cost of taking card payments for retailers and consumers.

The first regulatory step was to significantly reduce the fees that card companies apply to each other when accepting transactions. These interchange fees make up a significant part of the overall merchant service charge, and the intention was that by reducing this cost element consumers would benefit through lower prices. Once the payment fees were reduced, the second step was to implement a complete ban on surcharges for consumers.

We are concerned that regulation has failed to reduce charges. Credit card companies seem to have simply offset the money lost due to the regulatory change by introducing new fees and increasing other charges. This will almost certainly result in overall higher costs for consumers and may force some Members to refuse card payments altogether, particularly retailers who do not have the option of increasing their overall prices.

In its own consultation response announcing the forthcoming surcharging ban the Treasury acknowledge this failure – and ABTA is pressing government to take action.

We are looking to gather evidence from Members on the charges you are paying on credit and debit card payments so that we can share this with Government and encourage them to reduce these charges as was originally intended. We need as many Members as possible to submit their experiences so that we can put together a truly compelling case. Your financial protection contact will be receiving an email and hard copy survey from us today. Please make sure you complete and return it by no later than 8 December

On another matter, as we enter the winter season ABTA, with support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ski Club of Great Britain, is launching its ski safe campaign to make sure people have the right insurance and are safe on the slopes. Full details can be found at abta.com/skisafe.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive

Don't miss our Travel Finance Conference in London on 20 February.