No More Additional Credit Card Fees

consumer-news-spainFrom 1 September 2014, in Spain companies will no longer be allowed to apply fees for payment by credit or debit cards. This will affect in particular online websites, such as airlines, that commonly charge high amounts when you pay by card.

Why is this Change Being Introduced?

High commissions charged to retailers by their bank for accepting card payments, coupled with the multilateral interchange fee charged by a consumer’s bank to the retailer’s bank have led to higher prices overall. Some time ago the EU decided to take action to change this situation.

The European Commission has said that competition is negatively affected by these commission rates, with consumers losing out as prices are increased for everyone, even for those who don’t have a card – these days there are very few companies that will sell goods at a lower price if you decide to pay by cash.

Currently companies in Spain pay around 0.75% for purchases made by credit or debit card. In comparison with other European countries there are those where banks don’t charge anything, or extremes such as Germany where charges are as high as 1.8%.

What Changes will You See this Year?

Spain has decided to introduce legislation from 1 Sep 2014 with the following changes:

  • Consumers will no longer have to pay an additional fee when paying by credit or debit card (these were generally applied by online sellers).
  • Commission charged to retailers will be as follows:
    • For payment with debit cards: Maximum commission of 0.2% of the purchase price, capped at 7 cents. If less than 20€ is charged to the card then the rate is 0.1%.
    • For credit cards: Maximum commission 0.3% and for purchases under 20€ this is reduced to 0.2%.

But…

As you can expect, banks are not happy with this change and is it expected that they will increase the annual credit and debit card fee paid by their clients. These new measures do not affect charge cards, such as American Express.

Experts in Spain have stated that consumers can expect to see savings of around 6000 million euros, however we reckon that even though retailers will be paying lower commission to their banks, don’t expect to see prices coming down. However with the removal of the fee for paying by card, savings of around 730 million euros for consumers are expected.

Conclusion

It has been known for some time that companies, especially airlines, were charging rates for paying by credit card that were substantially above the real costs of processing the payments. We hope we’re wrong, but they may decide to invent a whole new range of add-ons just to recover the lucrative market lost from credit card fees.

 

Related Post: No Annual Charge Credit Cards in Spain