Fine Gael Kildare South TD, Martin Heydon, has welcomed the reduction in fees for retailers accepting payment by debit and credit cards. The cost for retailers of accepting card payments is being halved from this week, following the implementation of the announcement by the Minister for Finance in the Budget 2016 speech.

“The number of people paying by debit card has quadrupled in the last decade as more people choose this convenient option over going to the ATM. This significant reduction in interchange fees for retailers is really welcome, and comes at a great time as people get their Christmas shopping underway.

“With this reform measure, Ireland will have among the lowest rates of debit card interchange in Europe. It will have widespread benefits for both customers and for retailers, which is good for business.

“Cutting the cost of card payments should bring an end to the minimum charge for card payments that currently exist in many shops and Minister Noonan has called on retailers to remove this minimum spend practise now. This is obviously good for the customer as they should no longer have to pay extra to use their card.  It will also encourage them to opt for card payments more often, which is good for the retailer as card payments are cheaper to handle than cash. Furthermore, the contactless card payment option is being extended for use in transactions up to €30. This is the cheapest and most efficient way to pay, both for the retailer and the consumer.

“This measure will have a real impact in terms of savings for retailers; estimated in excess of €36 million a year. Minister Noonan has advised that retailers should shop around and make sure that they are getting the best possible deal from their card machine provider if they are going to get the full benefits of this reform.

“Measures like these are crucial to Fine Gael’s plan to keep the recovery going. Cutting costs for retailers helps to create jobs in small and family businesses right around the country. Job creation has been the big success story of this Government so far, with 135,000 jobs created since the launch of our Action Plan for Jobs in 2012. We cannot take for granted that stability and recovery will continue and we must continue to create jobs which can ultimately lead to affordable, sustainable improvements in our public services using the resources from growing employment