Updated on: 16 Jan 2018
When you pay for something in the EU using your credit or debit card, traders and banks cannot charge you an extra fee – also known as "surcharging" – just for using your card. This rule applies to all card purchases (in shops and online) made within your home country or in another EU country.
American Express, Diners Club, and business or corporate credit cards, where your employer is billed instead of you, are not covered by EU rules on payment services, and you can still be charged extra for using these cards.
You should be aware that if you're paying in EU currencies other than euros, you may still be charged a currency conversion fee by your card provider when you use your card in another country.
When you make a cross-border payment in euros, Romanian lei and Swedish krona within the EU, your bank can't charge you more than it would for an equivalent national transaction. Even banks based in EU countries outside the euro area must apply this rule.
This includes any:
- transfers between bank accounts in different EU countries
- withdrawals from cash machines/ATMs in EU countries
- payments by debit or credit card across the EU
- direct debit transactions
For example, if your bank charges you 1 EUR each time you withdraw money in your home country from a cash machine outside your bank network, they can charge you the same amount when you make a withdrawal in another EU country.
These rules come from the Payment Services Directive that entered into force in January 2018. You’ll need to keep in mind that not all the Member States in the EU have transposed this directive into national law and because of this in some EU countries you might still be charged an extra fee when making a payment with your credit or debit card.
You can see the full Payment Services Directive transposition situation in the EU below:
- No transposition measures communicated: Croatia, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain
- Partial transposition measures communicated: Belgium, Lithuania, Malta, Poland
- Full transposition measures communicated: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom
Due to the lack or delay of the notification of national transposition measures or their incompleteness, an Infringement proceeding for non-communication of the national transposition measure is pending against the Member States that didn’t fully transposed the directive into national legislation.