Businesses are now banned from applying credit-card surcharges.

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From January 13, a new EU-wide law banned all card surcharges. It does allow companies to pass on the cost of credit cards through a rise in administration fees – such as buyer’s premium – but only if they apply to all payment methods.

Richard Winterton in Lichfield will no longer accept credit cards.

He said: “We looked at the processing costs carefully. We didn’t want to penalise 90% of our customers by increasing the buyer’s premium so we trialled accepting credit cards.” Costs incurred via a 1.85% fee were £1700 in the first month.

Colin Young, president of NAVA Propertymark, said stopping credit card payments has two direct benefits. “Not only does this mitigate the cost itself, but also removes the problem of chargebacks.”

Young said that “in the wake of this particular issue, and other external small business-orientated factors that have increased the cost base of running a saleroom”, many firms had decided to pass the costs on through buyer’s premium.

Adam Partridge Auctioneers reduced the credit card limit for buyers to £500 in recent years to combat fraudulent behaviour.

Since January the Macclesfield firm has reduced this to £200. Partridge told ATG: “A small proportion of people have complained but not enough for me to reconsider this limit.”

Some firms such as Dawson’s in Maidenhead are nonetheless absorbing the cost. Aubrey Dawson said: “To raise buyer’s premium would unfairly penalise buyers paying by other means, so we are simply absorbing the credit card fees. We see it as a cost of doing business.”