Tag Archives: news

Ryanair Defiant Over Credit Card Surcharges Crackdown










A group of 14 people travelling together on Ryanair would pay £168 extra for their flights, despite only making one payment.

Ryanair has defied the government’s move to ban surcharges on payments to airlines and other firms by saying it does not charge its passengers any credit or debit card fees.

Airlines, cinemas and holiday firms will be stopped from imposing millions of pounds in “hidden last-minute” charges on internet bookings. Treasury minister Mark Hoban said the government is prepared to legislate to prevent airlines and other businesses from imposing hefty charges on credit and debit card bookings that are difficult to detect.

However, the budget airline said in a statement: “Ryanair, the UK’s favourite airline, today confirms that it does not impose any debit or credit card fees.”

Ryanair claims instead to charge an “admin fee” per passenger per one-way flight. This £6 charge is levied when a passenger comes to pay and can only be avoided by using the airline’s own prepaid Mastercard. It states on its website that this charge “relates to costs associated with Ryanair’s booking system.”

The charge means that, for example, a group of 14 people travelling together would pay £168 extra for their flights, despite the fact that only one payment is processed for the entire group.

John Holmes, principal economist at Which?, who helped compile a report into excessive card charges which formed the basis of a supercomplaint to the Office of Fair Trading earlier this year, said the Ryanair reaction was typical of the airline and would be dismissed by the government.

“The only time the airline charges that £6 admin fee is when a passenger presents a payment method to the airline,” he said. “The principle of this government legislation is about those charges that are practically unavoidable. You cannot avoid paying for a flight so you cannot avoid the charge.”

Which? says an airline incurs costs of between 8p-20p on debit card transactions. Those rise to between 0.88% and 1.8% of the transaction for payments by credit card. It means a passenger paying the average return fare of £136.09 should pay a minimum of £1.20 and a maximum of £2.45 for a credit card booking. Continue reading


Credit Card Plan To Help Taxis

The government has launched a project to issue NGV energy credit cards to drivers of taxis, passenger vans and samlor taxis.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday presided over the launch of the project at Impact Muang Thong Thani. The project is a collaboration of the Energy Ministry, PTT Plc and Krung Thai Bank.

Energy Minister Pichai Naripthaphan said the cards will be issued to taxi, passenger van and tuk tuk drivers in Bangkok and surrounding provinces who are low-income earners affected by an increase in the price of natural gas for vehicles (NGV).

Each card has a credit limit of 3,000 baht. It can be used to pay for NGV bills.

Card holders are also entitled to discounts for the retail price of NGV of between 50 satang and two baht offered on every kilogramme of NGV paid for with the credit cards. The discounts received must not exceed the NGV purchase value of 9,000 baht per month. Card holders can use NGV energy credit cards with all NGV vehicles carrying an NGV refill card. The credit cards have been in use since Dec 1.

The discounts for the NGV retail price will take effect on Jan 16 until the end of 2015.Ms Yingluck said that issuing the energy credit cards forms part of the government’s policy to ease the impacts of the energy prices on low-income earners.

The government will extend subsidies for liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas for vehicles until Jan 15 and resume collecting levies for the Oil Fund on regular and premium petrol, diesel and gasohol starting from Jan 16.

On Sept 30, the National Energy Policy Council chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck approved a proposal for the state Oil Fund to borrow 10 billion baht from commercial banks to finance domestic fuel subsidies.

Credit Card Plan To Help Taxis. (2011, December 16). Retrieved from http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/271024/credit-card-plan-to-help-taxis

Best Credit Card Perks Of 2011

Many credit cards look and act alike. Cash back rewards cards battle over seasonal bonus promotions, while travel rewards cards often rely on the reputation of their brand partners. A simple bonus, perk or privilege can win the battle for a prospective cardholder’s business. To illustrate, we’ve scoured our database for six of this year’s most unusual credit card perks:

1. Foreign transaction fees race to the bottom

For years, smart travelers sought out Capital One credit cards to avoid costly foreign transaction fees. In 2011, a handful of banks realized that eliminating those surcharges from their elite travel rewards cards added value for business travelers and affluent vacationers. American Express Platinum Card, Citi ThankYou Preferred and Chase Sapphire Preferred top the list of specialty credit cards that offer fee-free transactions across borders.

2. Priceless moments from MasterCard

After years of allowing issuing banks to define their own cardholder loyalty programs, payment platform providers launched major initiatives to differentiate their brands through special experiences. MasterCard Moments launched with extra special privileges for World MasterCard customers, including access to private culinary journeys and adventure tours.

However, the program also offers special perks that standard MasterCard cardholders can enjoy, such as a free third night at participating hotels. Free registration on MasterCard’s website can supercharge any bank’s existing rewards credit card.

3. Old-school customer service

Discover Card started the banking industry equivalent of a snowball fight last winter, with a series of ads depicting the antics of the inept customer service call center at “USA Prime Credit.” Peggy and the team highlighted frequent customer complaints about credit card companies, like obtuse reward programs and challenges resolving transaction disputes.

Chase responded with a series of ads touting live service professionals for its Sapphire credit cards. After years of outsourcing and automating back office functions, some banks have returned to high-touch customer service as a means to attract more discriminating cardholders.

4. Helping cardholders get out of debt

Balance transfer offers returned to consumers’ mailboxes in full force over the past 12 months. Slate from Chase cardholders enjoyed some of the year’s best credit card deals, with some offers combining a low introductory rate with a fee-free balance transfer.

In addition, Slate from Chase includes access to Blueprint, an online credit card calculator that helps cardholders determine how much to pay each month to eliminate their debt by a target date. Blueprint offers other nice features, as well, but the fact that a credit card company wants to help customers pay off their balances continues to earn the attention of our experts.

5. Smart social networking deals

During a year that Groupon and Living Social captured the attention of American bargain hunters, American Express launched a stealthy way for cardholders to earn deep discounts without fumbling over online coupons. The company’s “Link, Like, Love” system enables cardmembers to register once for a series of automatic rewards at well-known merchants, such as H&M, Outback Steakhouse, Travelocity, and Westin Hotels.

Small businesses can use an online portal to add their own discounts, luring new cardmember business into their establishments. Discounts show up on AmEx statements as promotional credits, eliminating confusion at the checkout counter.

6. The hottest tickets in town

As Visa and American Express battle over exclusive ticket pre-sale rights, Citi quietly assembled a credit card offering designed for people who love to entertain friends, family, and clients. Citi Diamond Preferred cardholders can access a private reserve of tickets for the top music and comedy tours, along with premium seats for Broadway shows and VIP nightclub passes. A personal concierge remains on around-the-clock standby to help secure any dining, entertainment and travel needs not already reserved for cardholders.

Credit card perks and privileges change all the time, even for existing cardholders. For instance, Visa and MasterCard increasingly offer special deals and rewards regardless of a customer’s issuing bank. However, you’ll usually have to sign up on a sponsor’s website to qualify for those special offers. In other cases, calling your existing credit card issuer may qualify you for an upgraded account with access to better perks. It’s a good idea to regularly review your statement and your issuer’s website for updates and reward details.

Best Credit Card Perks of 2011. (2011, December 14). Retrieved from http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2011/12/14/best-credit-card-perks-2011/

Squeeze On Cash Flow Hurting House Builders

December 12, 2011 – By Adele Ferguson

Residential property builder National Builders Group is the latest company to be issued with an ultimatum from its bank: either refinance its loan with another bank or sell the business.

The group, which generates revenue of between $25 million and $30 million selling home building services ranging from drafting, engineering, selecting fixtures then outsourcing construction to a builder, is in talks with the Malaysian company Mae Synergy to buy the business by December 30.

The company is understood to have told its staff late last week that after discovering a series of cash flow issues it was working through payment plans and hoped to have a new owner by December 30. The cash flow problems were blamed on a previous employee who failed to send out 290 invoices to creditors, which left the company with a huge financial hole. Continue reading

Parking Meters Go High Tech

December 11, 2011 By-  Jonathan Willing

New parking machines have more people reaching for plastic to pay.

According to the city, nearly 40% of all revenue collected by the pay-and-display machines is from credit card transactions. Staff expect the number to increase since a pay-by-phone system is scheduled to be launched early in 2012.

The pay-by-phone system will allow people to refresh the time on their parking meters by phone or Internet, rather than running back to a meter to pay. The machines will also use “near field communication,” allowing people to simply wave their cell phones in front of a parking meter to pay if their credit card data is stored on their phones.

The city has stopped producing parking-specific smart cards since credit card payments have become so popular. People who have parking cards can get the balance cashed out by the city. Staff say the cards only accounted for roughly 2% of gross parking revenue in 2009.

The city started installing new pay-and-display machines in 2010 to replace the old coin meters. The machines accept both credit cards and coins.

While the machines have provided motorists with another payment option, the city is missing out on revenue generated from people not feeding the coin parking meters on time. By law services have forecasted a revenue decrease of $500,000 in 2012 partly because the new parking machines make it easier for people to pay, avoiding costly fines.

Parking Meters Go High Tech.(2011, December 11). Retrieved from http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/12/11/parking-meters-go-high-tech

Consumer Credit In U.S. Rose In October To Two-Year High

U.S. consumer borrowing rose in October to the highest level in two years, propelled by gains in non-revolving debt like auto and student loans.

Credit increased by $7.65 billion to $2.46 trillion, the most since October 2009, Federal Reserve figures showed today in Washington. The advance was in line with the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News that projected a $7 billion gain.

The data indicate consumers are relying more on credit to sustain spending as income gains fail to keep up with inflation and home prices drop. At the same time, increasing employment may be making Americans more willing to take on more debt heading into the holiday shopping season.

“It’s hard to determine whether spending on credit is a sign of optimism or a sign of distress, but just anecdotally we feel there is the beginning of tentative feelings of comfort in taking on slightly more debt,” said Dana Saporta, a U.S. economist at Credit Suisse in New York.

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of 34 economists ranged from gains of $1 billion to $16 billion.

Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, climbed by $366.2 million in October, according to the Fed’s statistics.

Non-revolving debt, including educational loans and loans for autos and mobile homes, increased by $7.28 billion in October, today’s report showed. The Fed’s report doesn’t track debt secured by real estate, such as home equity lines of credit.

Savings Rate

Households may need to borrow more to sustain spending that climbed in the third quarter at the fastest pace this year alongside a drop in disposable income. The savings rate fell to 3.8 percent, the lowest since the last three months of 2007, to support the 2.3 percent advance in purchases last quarter, Commerce Department figures show.

In November, U.S. auto sales rose to a 13.6 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate, the best month since August 2009, according to Autodata Corp. Americans spent a record $52.4 billion during the Thanksgiving weekend, kicking off the holiday shopping season, according to the National Retail Federation.

Lenders may be more willing to support those outlays after restricting credit during the recession. Banks were more likely to ease than tighten standards on consumer credit-card loans and other non-auto loans in the third quarter, according to a Nov. 7 Federal Reserve survey of loan officers. They were also more likely to report “strengthening demand for consumer credit card and auto loans, in line with the past few quarters,” it said.

Total Borrowing

Consumer borrowing, nonetheless, has shrunk relative to its size before the recession. Household debt in the U.S. is currently at about $13 trillion, compared with $14 trillion in 2008, Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf said yesterday during a conference hosted by Goldman Sachs Group.

“As I spend time with our consumer lending divisions and out in the public with customers, people are paying debt down,” the leader of the fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets said. While the “pool of consumer loans will shrink,” auto loans “will be a growth area” along with student loans, he said.

Consumer Credit In U.S. Rose In October to Two-Year High.(2011, December 8,) Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-08/consumer-credit-in-u-s-rose-in-october-to-two-year-high.html

Facebook To Give It’s Employees Facebucks

Summary: Facebook is planning to give its employees Facebucks: specialized credit cards good for use at local businesses. It’s all part of the social networking giant’s move to Menlo Park.

In February, Facebook plans to launch a new program called Facebucks, which essentially gives the company’s employees specialized credit cards good for use at local restaurants, bookstores, and other businesses. 50 of the company’s employees participated in a trial run last month. Continue reading