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BIRA calls on gov to appeal card payment fees

The association 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 card fees which add to the price of goods and services

British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) has added its voice to a group of trade bodies appealing for parliament to intervene and protect British businesses and consumers from the cost of anti-competitive practices in card payments.

The association 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 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 said 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 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 said that “no action” has so far been taken by the regulator.

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