SNP MEP Alyn Smith welcomed the move to protect consumers from overcharging banks following the European Parliament’s vote in favour of a proposed cap on debit and credit card transaction fees in Strasbourg yesterday (Tuesday).
The EU will limit fees charged by banks for the use of credit and debit cards under the new plans.
“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 new legislation will make sure fees will not exceed 0.2 percent for debit card rates and 0.3 percent for credit cards in line with anti-trust deals on cross-border fees.
“The new legislation is good news for consumers as well as businesses, as the new measures are designed to protect them from unlimited bank charges while increasing transparency. We shouldn't be charged hidden transaction costs and we should know who's taking our money.”