Rip-off card charges banned – what do I need to know?

Firstly, it is important to explain what this change is, and how it has come about. Amid mass media hype (given the effect of this law is imminent), there are a number of statements being made surrounding the effects of the “ban”.  Being armed with knowledge of your consumer rights is important – even more so is the need to make sure they are used fully and correctly, to your advantage.

What is it?

Its full name is “Directive on payment services in the internal market, amending Directives 2002/65/EC, 2009/110/EC and 2013/36/EU and Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010, and repealing Directive 2007/64/EC ((EU) 2015/2366)”, but is commonly referred to as PSD2.  It came into force on 12 January 2016, has already been incorporated into UK law, taking effect on 13 January 2018.  As a result, the changes will not be affected by the UK leaving the EU.

It is a complex area of law, and deals with a large number of points, but for the purposes of this article, we will focus on one of the points likely to impact the majority of us – card charges.

What does it apply to?

With the exception of the below “exclusions”, it applies to any fees for credit or debit card payments, be that for good/services, or any other types of payment. Previously, the position in law was that companies could only charge whatever they have to pay for processing your payment, and nothing more.

Commonly, this is found with airlines, festival/concert/event organisers, DLVA, HMRC, Paypal, and takeaway apps such as JustEat, who (up until 18th January 2018) were legally able to charge consumers, in respect of a given means of payment, fees that they themselves incurred (but nothing more).

Some common exceptions:

  • Many retailers try to ease the impact of bank charges by setting a minimum spend amount – this will not change, and retailers are still able to do this.
  • It does not apply to ATM charges, though there is a requirement of transparency – where charges are going to be imposed, it must be made very clear.
  • It applies only to consumer cards – charges for commercial/company cards are still allowed.
  • Companies are still allowed to make a charge for payments using other methods, including cheques or direct debits/standing orders.
  • It does not cover charges such as delivery fees, booking fees, or administrative fees.

Consumer law is an ever-changing field of law, and it is imperative that consumers and traders alike are aware of both their rights and obligations. If you are a business or a consumer, and require advice on any aspects of consumer law, please contact our Consumer Lawyer, Daniel Tetsell, on

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