Credit card giant Mastercard is to raise the fees it charges merchants when UK cardholders buy goods and services from the EU by fivefold, according to BBC News.
It has sparked fears that consumer prices could rise if merchants choose to pass on those costs, especially on items not available from UK retailers.
Transactions with airlines, hotels, car rentals and holiday firms based in the EU could all be affected.
Mastercard attributed the move to the UK’s decision to leave the EU. It added that “in practice” UK consumers would not notice the move.
The change affects the “interchange” fees Mastercard sets on behalf of big banks, so that its customers can use their payment networks.
With Covid restrictions bringing their own challenges, businesses, especially smaller ones, may be compelled to pass on the costs to consumers and it’s not just items crossing borders. The payments for most items bought on Amazon in the UK are processed via its Luxembourg headquarters.