Agents have been advised by Abta of a change in fees for debit card payments by Visa from March 1.
The change covers interchange fees – those that are paid by the retailer’s bank to the cardholder’s bank when processing payments.
The move from a fixed rate to a percentage means that costs go up for higher value transactions.
Abta told agents that they might find that their credit card acquirer is passing this increase in costs on to them through the merchant service charge.
“In terms of passing on the extra cost to your clients, you can of course do this through an adjustment in your prices. However, you need to be careful about adding on an extra card fee as a separate item,” Abta said in an update to members.
“The legal position is that your advertised prices must be accurate and obtainable. They must contain all compulsory extras.
“So, if you advertise or display on your website a price of e.g. £750, but when a client comes to book, the price is in fact £755 because you add a fee if they pay by card, and there’s no alternative but to pay by card, this is a breach of the law.
“You should advertise the price of £755 because the £750 can’t be obtained.”
Abta added: “As long as you have no debit card charge, so a client can pay the advertised price if they pay by debit card, you can of course have an additional credit card charge, to cover your costs, if they opt to pay by credit card.”
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