Long raises issue of HMRC credit card fees in Commons

Alliance East Belfast MP Naomi Long has called on HM Treasury to ensure that the charges levied by HMRC on those who pay their tax bill by credit card are related solely to the cost of the transaction and are not a profit making exercise for the HMRC. The Government have already announced their proposals to review the credit card fees levied on consumers more generally and Naomi Long MP sought the assurance of Ministers during Treasury Questions in the House of Commons that they will ensure that HMRC charges are not penalising those who pay by credit card. Currently, some businesses charge fees of up to £6 online for using a credit card when it may only cost the processor around 20p for debit cards and around 1% of the transaction amount for credit cards; HMRC itself charges around 1.4% for credit card handling.

Naomi Long MP said: “The Government has vowed to crack down on excessive credit card surcharges by commercial companies, and to ensure that consumers have the full information at the earliest point in their transaction so they can make informed decisions; however, they have an opportunity through the HMRC to ensure that they charge people only the actual cost of the transaction made, rather than any additional amount.

“The charges levied by credit card companies on the receiving institution can vary significantly, depending on the card itself, the size of the transaction, the number of transactions by that company amongst other factors; however, whilst the Minister stated that the charges by HMRC were reasonable and that a wide range of alternative options for payment are available, he was not able to confirm that the surcharge levied on those paying their tax bill with a credit card is a precise reflection of the actual cost to HMRC of processing the transaction.

“Particularly this month, as people submit their tax returns and many have to make payments to HMRC, it is important that they do not add unnecessarily to the financial burden for people by levying extra charges on those, who for convenience, opt to pay by credit card. This is something which I will be pursuing further with Treasury as I believe that the means of calculating this charge should be completely transparent, which is currently not the case.”


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