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Credit card charges are guaranteed to get commentators in a lather and consumers blowing a fuse at the indignity of paying for the privilege of paying. So standby for the biggest change in charging since the plastic revolution of just over fifty years ago.
Throughout the EU many of those infuriating little charges, added on when you pull out your credit card, will be swept away in a bendy-banana sized piece of Brussels legislation.
What, you ask, will that mean for the Brexit-bound UK? Will GB become a haven for fee-fixing fleecers who swipe a few percentage points off your balance when you swipe your credit card though the reader?
Not a bit of it. Come next year, the UK will slap an even more far reaching statute on the books, putting pretty much a blanket ban on additional fees for using a credit card.
The date for your diary, and for your transaction software update, is 13 January 2018. It’s the date that Springfords will have in mind and, if you still need any help, we’ll be right there from Monday morning.
So that’s cool news for consumers who can expect an effective price drop of as much as 3% come the second Sunday of January.
Well, not quite.
It’s true that everything from ApplePay, to paying your pal for an apple at the corner shop, will no longer mean you’ll be whipped if you whip out your credit card.
Some household names have already made changes. A number of airline and travel companies have recently moderated their credit card charging policy. The blow will therefore be lighter when it lands in January.
The implications for your business could be mixed. If you do charge a transaction fee, this may affect your profitability. You may be ready for the change, you may have seen it coming, and you may have decided how to react.
Outlawing charges could have a positive effect. The legislation may make your business more competitive. Even if you’re a small retailer, customers might see the removal of card charges as an encouragement to choose your business. Next January could be a time to publicise your new trading status. Get that “A” board out there.
Of course, any business will still be able to apply a minimum spend rule - so you may well have to pay for more than one apple to make a credit card purchase.
Trading Standards will get involved after the start date, if an infraction is brought to their attention. Don’t expect a blue-light style response though. The enforcement body has already hinted that it’s too stretched to effectively police the new policy. So the onus is squarely on the bill-paying, card-using businesses and individuals to monitor their own spending - something upon which Springfords is always ready to keep an accounting eye.
So whether you’re in the position of adding a charge for credit card payment, or just one of the millions who pay through gritted teeth, get ready for January 2018.