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Under Government plans, excessive fees for using a debit or credit card to buy items such as flights and cinema tickets online will be banned by the end of this year.

Airline passengers alone collectively pay more than £265,000 a day in card surcharges.  That represented a staggering sum of £300 million during the whole of 2010.

In June 2011, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published a report regarding the practice of retailers applying hefty surcharges.  Although the report concluded that there could be an additional cost applied by retailers in order to cover their additional costs of accepting a debit or credit card, it also concluded that charges should be clearer and that charges for using a debit card should be banned altogether.

However, the Government has gone one step further than the OFT report and plans to change the law so that all “excessive” surcharges are banned.  The Government is bringing forward the implementation of new European rules, which had been scheduled to come into effect in the middle of 2014.  Under these rules, retailers will only be able to pass on their actual costs of processing card payments on to consumers.

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