For too long, banks have got away with charging retailers excessive fees to process card payments. Handling a debit card purchase costs less than 1p for the banks, but retailers are often charged up to eight times more. These hidden charges lead to smaller profit margins for business owners and higher prices for customers in the shops.
This week the EU Parliament voted to end these rip-off card charges once and for all. The new rules, set to come into force by the end of the year, will cap the fees at 0.2 per cent for debit cards and 0.3 per cent for credit cards. This will save firms in the UK an estimated £500m a year, much of which should be passed on to consumers. Capping card fees will make them cheaper, fairer and more transparent for retailers and shoppers alike.
Unfortunately, UKIP MEPs including Janice Atkinson, Nigel Farage, Ray Finch and Diane James failed to stand up for British small businesses and consumers by voting against the move. UKIP may style themselves as the people’s army, but it seems the only people they are fighting for are wealthy bankers.
As your Liberal Democrat MEP I am determined to carry on fighting to get a better deal in Europe for my constituents, not opposing measures that will save them money.
Catherine Bearder MEP