No extra charges for electronic payments from 2018

Summary

Customers who pay using cards like Bancontact, Visa and Mastercard will no longer incur additional charges, the federal consumers affairs minister has announced

In line with EU legislation

Starting next year, customers will no longer be charged extra fees for paying using electronic means, federal minister of consumer affairs Kris Peeters has announced.

Currently, customers may be asked to pay extra for using payment cards under two conditions. Either the charge must not exceed what retailers themselves have to pay, or the charge must be announced before the transaction has taken place. The charges, usually for small sums under €5, went up last year by 33%. Belgians used their bank cards to make 1.96 billion retail transactions.

In January, this will change to come in line with a new EU guideline on payment systems, which forbids retailers from charging customers for using the main electronic systems, including Bancontact, Maestro, Mastercard and Visa. Member states are free to extend the rule to other payment systems if they choose.

“Bank cards are more frequently used as a payment method,” Peeters said. “For now, retailers are free to charge for their use, but not anymore. I am amending the law so that from the beginning of 2018, extra costs for payments made using bank cards will no longer be allowed. Economy ministry inspectors will see to it that this is being enforced.”

Photo courtesy Bancontact

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