Airline customers pay £265,000 in extra charges for debit cards

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Airline customers are paying out around £265,000 each day in extra charges for using their debit cards, according to a report released today by consumer group Which?. The news comes despite the government's consumer watchdog warning recently that it will take action against companies which persist in levying "misleading" surcharges.

Which? filed a complaint to the Office of Fair Trading in March about the levy of debit and credit card surcharges. Both Easyjet and Ryanair have increased their add-on charges further since then despite OFT warning airlines against the practice.

"With most airlines yet to drop these card surcharges and some introducing new fees, it's time for the Government to put a stop to this," said Which? executive director Richard Lloyd. "The Government must act so that consumers can easily compare the cost of their flights."

EasyJet's corporate affairs manager Andrew McConnell, said "there needs to be a level playing field in the industry" and said they would back a European-wide solution.

Ryanair's Stephen McNamara denied the company uses debit card surcharges. However, the company does charge an "administration fee", which is avoidable only if customers pay using Ryanair's recommended MasterCard Prepaid.

The OFT put passenger travel companies on notice to "change misleading debit and credit card surcharging practices or face enforcement action under consumer protection laws," as a result of the Which? complaint.