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Card charges axed as online shopping becomes cheaper

31 January 2018 - 10:20 by Graham Miller

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Earlier this month Brits looking to carry out safe shopping online with any type of payment card were freed from the obligation of paying extra fees for their transaction method of choice.

BBC News reports that the outlawing of fees for buying products and services from websites with credit and debit cards could make a big difference for many consumers.

The good news is that this rule is also enforced in real world outlets, meaning retailers can no longer up the cost of card transactions without breaking the law, which came into force on the 13th of January.

Unfortunately, it is expected that retailers may well choose to increase prices in order to absorb the costs they are having to bear for processing payment card transactions. Whether this will be felt acutely in the e-commerce market remains to be seen, as stiff competition among sites might make price rises unappealing as an option.

Furthermore, this new legislation will do nothing to eliminate the common practice of charging customers a fee when they choose to book a ticket for a live event or a cinema trip.

It is thought that in some instances, sites will simply stop accepting payments made via certain types of card, since they can no longer charge customers for using them to shop online. Credit cards are most commonly subjected to fees, so they could take a bigger hit as a result.

One side effect of this is that HMRC has put an end to allowing tax bills to be paid via credit card, in spite of the fact that almost half a million people did so last year. So for some, this could force a rethink in the way they handle their taxes in 2018.