Card payments to the EU would cost more under a no deal Brexit — and it means your Ubers could get more expensive

Card payments could get more expensive.

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Card payments could get more expensive.
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Stokkete/Shutterstock

  • The cost of card transactions between the UK and EU would “likely increase” in the event that Britain leaves the EU with no deal, the government has warned.
  • Such increases could cost customers of firms like Uber, which processes UK journeys through its European headquarters in the Netherlands.
  • The chances of a no deal Brexit appear to be rising, with many now believing that it is more likely than a deal being struck.

LONDON – The cost of card payments to the EU would likely increase under a no deal Brexit, the UK government has warned, meaning services such as Uber could get more expensive.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and his department released a series of “no deal” planning papers on Thursday, covering everything from the City of London to customs arrangements.

Within the documents, the government warns that the cost of card transactions between the UK and the EU could rise if the two sides fail to reach a deal by March next year. Here’s the key extract from the government’s paper:

“The cost of card payments between the UK and EU will likely increase, and these cross-border payments will no longer be covered by the surcharging ban (which prevents businesses from being able to charge consumers for using a specific payment method.)”

The government did not specify how much it expects card payment costs to rise after such an outcome.

The likely changes could mean that the cost of using some services in the UK could increase. Using the ride-hailing app Uber, for instance, could become more expensive.

If you look at any receipt for an Uber journey in the UK, you’ll see Uber processes the payment for your ride through its Dutch subsidiary, Uber BV, based in Amsterdam. Given that Amsterdam is in the European Union, it could be hit by any rise under a “no deal” scenario.

Sky News reported in March that Uber had applied for an e-money license in the Netherlands as it looks to centralize its payment processing operations there and diversify into new products and services.

Uber declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider. Adyen, the Amsterdam-headquartered company which process payments for Uber, also declined to comment when asked about the specifics of Uber’s payment routes.

Even if the costs do rise for Uber, it should be said that the company may not pass that on to consumers and simply absorb the costs itself.

Antony Walker, the deputy CEO of trade body techUK, said in an email: “The notices also lay bare some of the other challenges facing the UK tech sector in the event of a no deal. Rules covering Payment Services will cease to apply, affecting many new FinTech companies and meaning charges for using credit cards would likely increase and payments in different currencies could slow.”

As well as possibly impacting businesses like Uber, a rise in card fees could increase costs for Brits using their cards abroad. Many banks already charge fees for doing transactions in foreign currencies, and for using foreign ATMs.

The removal of a ban on surcharging could also mean that EU companies are able to charge UK consumers different fees for using different types of cards. Until January this year, EU companies were able to charge customers more money for using certain cards, often adding fees for using credit cards instead of debit cards, as well as less widely used cards such as American Express. If Britain were to leave without a deal, those rules would no longer apply to EU firms selling services to Brits.

The government released its “no deal” Brexit notices on Thursday morning as part of its planning for what appears to be the rising likelihood of Britain leaving the EU without any sort of deal.

While Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said he expects a deal to be secured, the British public now believes no deal is the most likely outcome and Trade Secretary Liam Fox recently put its likelihood at 60%.