The UK government has banned firms from imposing "excessive" surcharges when customers use their debit and credit cards to pay for things such as flights and cinema tickets.
The new rule, which comes into effect immediately, is designed to stop companies from charging more than it costs them to process card payments, says the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The practice of adding charges of up to two per cent on card purchases has been common practice in industries such as the airline sector, rail, event tickets, cinemas, car dealerships and hotels.
According to the Office of Fair Trading, Brits spent around £300 million on payment surcharges in 2010 in the airline sector alone and the vast majority of people - around 90% - object to these fees.
Consumer Minister Jo Swinson says: "The practice of excessive payment surcharges has been ripping off consumers for far too long...I am delighted that the ban will stop retailers from cashing in by charging add-on fees that simply do not reflect the real cost of processing the payment."
Richard Lloyd, executive director, Which?, adds: "Over 50,000 people supported our campaign to end rip off surcharges so we're pleased the government is implementing this ban. For it to be effective there must be a tough enforcement regime and companies must play fair and not pass costs on to customers in other ways."
Read the BIS guidance on the regulations here