The UK Treasury has announced plans to ban excessive charges on purchases made by debit and credit card.
The new rules, set to come into force by the end of next year, are likely to affect airlines, many of which currently impose significant fees for customers paying online by card.
Easyjet charges £8 per booking for credit card purchases, plus 2.5 per cent of the transaction value (Visa Electron purchases do not attract a fee), while Ryanair charges £6 per person, per leg for credit card transactions, although this fee is not applicable if passengers use the carrier’s Cash Passport pre-paid Mastercard.
Ryanair refers to the £6 charge as an “Administration fee”, which it says covers “the associated cost of our reservations system”, so it’s not clear if the new rules on debit and credit card charges will necessarily force the carrier to reduce this charge.
The government says it will launch a consultation into the changes at the start of 2012.
The news follows an investigation by the OFT earlier this year, which "put passenger travel companies on notice to change misleading debit and credit card surcharging practices or face enforcement action under consumer protection laws".