Businesses will no longer be able to charge customers a fee for paying by credit or debit card after January 2018.
The Government is unveiling new rules that will consign what it calls "rip-off card charges" to history. At present, many businesses charge either a fee when customers pay using a credit card, debt card or even Paypal.
According to the Government, the total value of surcharges for debit and credit cards was an estimated £473 million in 2010. These surcharges will be banned from 13 January 2018.
Stephen Barclay, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: "Rip-off charges have no place in a modern Britain and that's why card charging in Britain is about to come to an end. This is about fairness and transparency, and so from next year there will be no more nasty surprises for people at the check-out just for using a card."
He added: "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."
This kind of surcharging is common practice; but while sectors such as the airline industry have been in the spotlight over charges, the fact is that everyone from corner shops to Government agencies have been charging customers for paying by card.
HMRC currently charges tax-payers for paying by credit card and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) adds a flat fee of £2.50 to vehicle tax payments by credit card.
The consumer group Which? has described the announcement as "long overdue". However, commentators have warned that many businesses will put up their prices in order to continue to pass the cost of card processing to their customers.
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