'Rip off' card charges in the spotlight

11 February 2011


It’s high time that someone did a good hard probe of the proliferation of credit and debit card booking fees. Unfortunately, due to our lack of numbers and keen interest in legal highs and niche filmmaking, that probably isn’t going to be Bitterwallet.

Which leaves the way open for our good friends at Which! to pick up the baton and run with it. And boy have they! Somehow, they’ve acquired the power to launch a ‘SUPER COMPLAINT!’ about booking fees, which means that the Office of Fair Trading HAS to sit up and take notice, and launch a preliminary investigation. Way to go, Which!

They say that for a family of four, card booking fees vary wildly, with Ryanair charging £40, Flybe charging £38 and easyJet charging only £5.50. Which! estimate that to process a debit card payment would cost the airlines around 20p while a credit card payment should cost no more than two per cent of the transaction. Sounds to us like the consumer is being RIPPED OFF and that someone should launch a SUPER COMPLAINT! Oh, they just did.

As we all know, it isn’t just airlines. More and more transactions take place online these days and it’s rare that there isn’t some added arbitrary charge or other chucked in there in order to fleece you even further. Everything from cinemas to estate agents to local authorities to even the good old DVLA are banging on added card processing charges and we’re SICK OF IT.

Which! say that the charges are disproportionate and that calculate that they add up to ‘hundreds of millions of pounds’ each year, which is, you know, a LOT. Hence the Super Complaint, which we at Bitterwallet are fully behind, to the point that we’re going to start pretending that it was our idea.

Lord Sir Peter Vicary-Smith, the chief executive of Which!, said: “There's simply no justification for excessive card charges – paying by card should cost the consumer the same amount that it costs the retailer. Companies shouldn't be using card processing costs as an excuse for boosting their profits.”

Which is exactly why Bitterwallet have registered this Super Complaint with the Office of Fair Trading. We’ll keep you all bang up to date with how it progresses as soon as we get any further updates from Which!

TOPICS:   Complaints   Economy   Banking


  • rich
    Did you or Which? launch the super complaint?
  • Jamie
    I would rather pay more to the likes of Easyjet and BA than feed that robbing bastard O'Leary.
  • Nob
    > Which! As usual, Which? not Which! > There’s simply no justification for excessive card charges – paying by card should cost the consumer the same amount that it costs the retailer. And what should P&P be charged at? Should this be the same amount that it costs the retailer? And what about goods? Should this be the same amount that it costs the retailer? I agree that all charges should be stated up front, but I am not so sure that businesses should only be allowed to charge what it costs them - for any part of the transaction.
  • Andy D.
    It's Which! Like Wham! We established this about two years ago. What's wrong with all of you!
  • M4RKM
    the thing with postage and packing, is that there are multiple costs. 1 - the cost of postage 2 - the cost of the packaging 3 - the cost of the staff member to throw a USB key in a box measuring 1m x 1m x 1m, rattling around obviously. however, with card charges, especially online, it's all automated, and as it is a processing fee, it should only be a processing fee. Anything else they want to tag on, really, in my opinion be included in the cost of the item / service I am purchasing. M
  • Steve O.
    The cost of credit cards should always be in the cost of doing business. You used to get 'cash discount', but handling, counting, paying-in cash is more expensive than automated card payments. We run a business and although we can get charged up to 4.5% of the cost of card payments, we just accept it as a necessary cost of doing business. If companies just tack on the credit card charge there's no incentive for them to negotiate a better discount with the credit card companies.
  • Rich
    It's Which? Not Which! Google the company, go to the site http://www.which.co.uk/ , shit buy the magazine its on the fucking cover!
  • SJ
    You do realise they probably call it Which! just to piss you all off and have a good chuckle while everyone bitches and moans about it :-)
  • S. M.
    When my shopping's been rung up at Tesco's and I hand over my credit card, they don't add on an extra credit card transaction fee to the total*. Why do airlines? They used to get away with quoting a ludicrously low fare, and then on checkout they add the £418.27airport tax for a flight to Stansted from Luton. The lot in Brussells did away with that annoying practice, maybe they could have a look at the fair charge of £179.99 per person on that annoying Irish airline. Go Witch? You have the support of a nation of avid bitterwalleters! behind you. *yes, i know that 2,5% is paid to tesco card services or whoever to handle the transaction, but that's a cost to the retailer not the consumer at that point.
  • Marky M.
    @ Rich Don't encourage Dawson; he'll only use it as an excuse to start swearing again like he does on 90% of his posts.
  • batfasterd
    It’s Which! Like Wham! We established this about two years ago. What’s wrong with all of you! Shouldn't that be "whats wrong with all of you?"
  • Nob
    It's on the fucking cover! What's on the fucking cover? No it's fucking not! Which! is on the fucking cover! No it's fucking not! Which? is on the fucking cover! Fuck knows¿
  • Fuck k.
    Yes. I do.
  • Simon
    Maybe we should start a campaign No one buys anything from these companies on the 1st day of every month, and if they do not listen change it to the first 3 days of every month critetia : any website that has rip off charges for cards (Irish airlines etc) - a list of the worst should be made up and published, these will be the ones to avoid List to include which companies ? Ryan. Easyjet, other high charging airlines....
  • Watch B.
    [...] week, consumer champion Which! launched a super-complaint against the likes of Ryanair that charge and profit by extortionate fees for credit and debit card services. Ryanair’s [...]

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