Latest news from Bira

17 Sep 2021

Bira appeals to Parliament to take action on card payment fees

Bira has added its voice to a group of trade bodies appealing for Parliament to intervene to protect British businesses and consumers from the mounting cost of anti-competitive practices in card payments.

Bira has joined the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), and UKHospitality to say that immediate action must be taken to tackle soaring card fees which add to the price of goods and services.

The call comes after the UK’s Payment Systems Regulator consultation on its five-year Strategy closed at the end of last week.

The group says that the national regulator is failing to meet its statutory objectives and that its new Strategy is a five-year license to deliver very little.

Since the pandemic, British businesses and their customers have become even more dependent on card payments, with more people shopping online or paying by card in store. Cards now constitute more than 80% of UK retail sales, with Visa and Mastercard accounting for 99% of card transactions.

Retailers spent £1.3bn in 2020 to accept payments from their customers and ultimately these costs, equivalent to more than £46 per household, will be passed onto the consumer.

Bira, the BRC, ACS, FSB and UKHospitality came together in a similar joint call last year but no action has so far been taken by the Regulator.

This time the trade associations are calling on Parliament and its Treasury Committee to urgently intervene. Nearly 40 cross-party MPs have already written to the Regulator this year calling for robust regulatory measures on card fees.

The story was reported on SKY News here

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