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British customers pay 228 mln USD in rip-off charges: Treasury

Xinhua,January 14, 2018 Adjust font size:

LONDON, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- People in Britain using debit and credit cards to pay for things paid 228 million U.S. dollars in just one year in hidden charges, figures from the Treasury revealed Saturday.

The hidden charges that led to holders of debit or credit paying what the Treasury described as rip-off fees were finally banned Saturday.

The new ban will help millions of consumers to avoid the fees when spending their money, said the Treasury.

So-called "surcharging" has been commonplace, particularly online, with many retailers hitting people with surprise charges just before they are about to make a purchase.

Some retailers have been adding charges which are far higher than it costs them to process a payment. It is estimated that surcharging cost British people 228 million U.S. dollars in 2015.

The ban "will ensure consumers can be confident that there won't be any nasty surprises, and they won't be penalised for wanting to pay in a particular way," said a Treasury spokesperson.

The ban on credit and debit card surcharges is effective across all European Union countries from Saturday Jan. 13, 2018, and will apply to all purchases made where the banks of the consumer and retailer are within the European Economic Area (EEA). The British government decided to go further by also including other payment methods such as PayPal in the ban to further protect consumers. Enditem