The Office of Fair Trading has announced it is to expand its investigation into credit card charges to include debit card fees.
The move has been welcomed by retailers and trade associations including the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The BRC has argued that fees paid on each card transaction are an unjustifiable tax on customers. It also said it believed card issuers are seeking to offset any future losses from restrictions on credit charge fees by hiking up the fees on debit cards.
BRC director general Kevin Hawkins said: "This is a welcome and somewhat overdue response to several months of lobbying. Retailers have no choice but to accept cards belonging to MasterCard and Visa and to pay fees for the privilege.
"MasterCard and Visa have been sharply pushing up debit card fees with no convincing justification. We're concerned they can see the writing on the wall for their huge credit card fees and are looking to make up potential losses."