After a surprised customer in Bristol was informed paying by chip and PIN would cost 10p MORE than using a contactless card, we take a look at your rights.
Contactless payments let you buy goods of up to £30 just by waving your card, wristband, phone or any other contactless device by the reader in the shop.
But they also come with some pretty serious security risks – meaning many people are choosing to leave theirs at home or not upgrade.
Others simply have cards that aren’t enabled yet – with many of these not set to be replaced for some years – meaning they couldn’t pay with contactless if they wanted to.
None of this would be a problem, except now some people are charging customers MORE to use a chip and PIN terminal – even though the card companies charge the same amount.
Bill was faced with this charge at Subway in Brislington, Bristol, where customers were being asked to pay 10p more for using a debit card that wasn’t contactless.
He’s not the only one to be charged.
Is that even allowed?
In Bill’s case we know that his card issuer, Visa, charges exactly the same amount in fees for contactless and Chip and PIN transactions- but there’s no reason the retailer can’t impose its own fees.
“All SUBWAY® stores are independently owned and operated by franchisees, who are independent business owners,” Subway told Mirror Money.
“On this occasion the franchisee for the Brislington store has opted to enact a debit card charge and has placed a sign at the till point making customers aware of this.”
The government only bans “excessive” card surcharges and there are a number of legitimate reasons shops could impose small ones.
Firstly, retailer’s own banks charge a fee to process card transactions – the UK cards association told Mirror Money – while fees for hiring terminals might also be different for chip and PIN and contactless cards.
As these are set between the shop and its bank, they could easily vary for different types of transactions.
There could also be a standard fee that the shop chooses to waive for contactless card transactions, but not Chip and PIN, as they are quicker and let the shop serve more customers.
Will it spread?
Card transactions cost retailers, although this has been capped at an average of 0.2% (2p per £10) for debit cards and 0.3% (3p per £10) for credit cards in the EU.
However, these are generally waived for customers by big stores – and fees only imposed in smaller shops for transactions below a certain level.
But with contactless payments so much quicker, the idea of charging people an additional fee for using Chip and PIN to compensate for the extra time it takes to pay is something that might well catch on.
If you’re looking to avoid being charged for not having a card, contact your bank or building society and they should be able to issue you a contactless enabled debit card.
If you’re worried about security on this card, we’ve got a full breakdown on how to stop cards being read from your wallet or purse here.
Andrews, J. (2015) No contactless card? That’ll be 10p extra at this shop. Available at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/no-contactless-card-thatll-10p-7063341 (Accessed: 10 June 2016).