This notice provides the taxi and private hire trades with very important information on the processing of credit and debit cards.
On Saturday 6 April 2013 ‘The Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012’ come into effect. The regulations ban traders from “charging consumers more than the cost borne by them for accepting a given means of payment” which includes processing card payments.
The regulations cover taxi and private hire passengers who pay by card and are being introduced following a consultation by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. A copy of the consultation outcome, the regulations and guidance on the regulations are available on the Inside Government website here.
New businesses and micro-businesses will be exempt from the regulations until 12 June 2014 but from this date the regulations will also apply to them. Broadly speaking a micro-business is one with fewer than 10 employees, this includes all self employed London taxi and private hire vehicle drivers. A new business is one which began trading between 6 April 2013 and 12 June 2014.
If you accept card payments it is vital that you are aware of these changes and ensure that you comply with them. From the appropriate date you must not charge passengers more than it costs to accept and process a card payment.
We currently set the maximum extra charge for card payments for taxi journeys at £1.00 or 12.5% of the metered fare and we have no intention to immediately change this prior to any formal consultation. This “extra” sets a maximum amount that can be charged when a passenger pays by card. However, taxi drivers and taxi booking companies can charge less than £1.00 or 12.5% of the metered fare and many already do so.
Taxi drivers and taxi booking companies that accept card payments should be aware of how much it costs them to accept and process a card payment and from the appropriate date must not charge a passenger more than this amount.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and trading standards officers have the powers to enforce these regulations. Complaints about being overcharged when paying by card, including for taxi and private hire services, will be considered by the OFT or local council trading standards officers. Where we are made aware that drivers or operators are charging more than the cost for processing the payment we may review their fitness to be license