Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Low cost airlines to no longer surcharge credit cards?

With the news today that interchange fees are to be capped should be good news for consumers. Interchange fees are charges that retailers pay via their bank to the credit card company when their customers use a credit card to pay for goods, Up to now this has been unregulated and an almost dark secret to most of us, but thanks to a new EU ruling all fees are to be capped at 0.2% for debit cards and 0.3% for credit cards from December 9th 2015.
The British Retail Consortium estimates this new ruling could save British businesses nearly £500M.
So far so good then.
Retailers will save money from unfair charges.
So here's the thing. Does this mean our two main low cost airlines Ryan Air and easyJet will now no longer charge us a fee for using credit cards to book our flights?
If, as we are led to believe, the new shiny mark 2 passenger friendly Ryan Air is always going to put its passengers first, or easyJet is looking to further improve its rapidly growing brand,  then we should look forward to being able to use our credit cards for flights without incurring any surcharges.
Now I am sure we will no doubt hear that historically there have been no surcharges for using a debit card or some other obscure pre-paid card, or that there are many other hidden costs in processing credit card bookings, but now in all honesty, there are no excuses for penalising customers who want to use a credit card to buy a low cost flight.
As the Treasury points out in its consultation document "the government is clear that merchants are expected to pass these savings on to consumers in the form of lower prices."  So will this indeed happen? My guess is as good as yours, but we live in hope.