Charging for service is the wrong thing to do to offset the impact of the ban on charges for credit and debit cards from January.

John Hays, managing director of Hays Travel, told the annual conference of prominent Hays Independence Group consortium member Not Just Travel there is “no way around the legislation”.

“We know other consortia have come up with ideas like charging a fee for premium clients for doing things like booking seats, printing documentation or helping with Advanced Passenger Information.

“We have looked at this, but all the things they’re proposing to charge a fee for we regard as standard.

“We are here to provide a service; that is what makes us different as independent travel agents. It’s why people come to us. We think it’s the wrong thing to do to start charging service fees.

“In fact, we would be really quite pleased if this is what other groups start doing because that will just send their clients to us.”

Hays said the group would stop charging card fees from December 26, before the new law comes in on January 13, so it does not have to update turn-of-year TV, radio and print campaigns.

Not Just Travel, which was established in 2001, is one of Hays Travel’s fastest-growing consortium members and has brought Hays on to its advisory board. It now has about 300 agents in the UK.

Steve Witt, co-founder of Not Just Travel, urged agents to “embrace” the new rules.

He said agents could encourage customers to pay by bank transfer or cash, although Not Just Travel does not encourage cash payments.

He said the firm had been able to reduce credit card fees charged by card issuers to as little as 0.69% from 1% to 2%