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U.K. to Scrap 'Rip-Off' Card Charges to Ease Pressure on Incomes

  • Fees for using credit and debit cards to end in January
  • Card surcharges cost almost 500 million pounds, Treasury says

Theresa May’s government is making its latest bid for the people she calls “just about managing” with a pledge to ban charges for paying by card.

Extra charges for making purchases with a credit or debit card will end in January, the Treasury said in a statement. Such fees cost an estimated 473 million pounds ($616 million) in 2010.

The government said the move was part of wider help for families “to raise their incomes and keep more of what they earn” as inflation erodes their spending power. May has faced calls to abandon austerity after her Conservative Party lost its majority in last month’s election.

“Rip-off charges have no place in a modern Britain,” Economic Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay said. “These small charges can really add up and this change will mean shoppers across the country have that bit of extra cash to spend on the things that matter to them.”

Businesses from takeaway apps to global airlines currently charge people to make card payments or for using services like Paypal, the Treasury said. It promised to engage with retailers to see if more could be done to help them now that they will no longer be able to pass the fees onto customers.

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