EU to curb cost of paying with plastic

The EU will limit fees charged by banks for the use of credit and debit cards under the new plans announced in Brussels.

SNP MEP Alyn Smith welcomed the new proposals to protect consumers from overcharging banks and committed himself to work constructively as the actual legislative proposals are brought forward.

Smith said:

“These are just proposals at this stage, but they are welcome and transparency in how banks do business amongst themselves at our expense is to be welcomed.  So-called 'interchange fees' are imposed by one bank on another bank, and by companies like Visa and MasterCard. Whenever we use a card to buy goods or pay for services the fee is due to cover the cost of processing the payments.  It's the retailer who pays but the charges push up prices in the shops and it’s clear that customers end up paying.

“At present the charges vary across the EU and they're uncapped.  That's against the interests of consumers, who are often unaware of the fee that retailers have to add to the cost of goods and services and it clashes with the single market principles of free trade.

“The EU took steps to cut the extortionate data roaming charges that mobile phone companies were charging and now the EU is acting to protect consumers from bank charges and increase transparency.  We shouldn't be charged hidden transaction costs and we should know who's taking our money.  I'm pleased that this is now being addressed by the EU.  While I'll not give a blank cheque to the Commission given we are at an early stage in the legislative process, I certainly agree the credit card companies and banks have a case to answer.”