Thursday 24 August 2017

WHO ELSE WHACKS ON THE CHARGES WHEN YOU PAY WITH THE PLASTIC?

Gambling

If you're planning to bet on the All Blacks to win the Rugby World Cup this autumn, be careful where you gamble -- otherwise a good chunk of your bet could be gobbled up by credit card surcharges.

If betting online with Betfair, you'll be hit with a 1.5 per cent surcharge if you use a credit card to place your bet. Use your Laser card instead and you'll avoid the surcharge. Or better still, gamble online with Paddy Power, where you won't get hit with any surcharges for credit card bets.

Island getaway

Your figure is a far cry from that flaunted by David Hasselhoff or Pamela Anderson in Baywatch -- but that's not putting you off your honeymoon in Hawaii next year. The credit card surcharges might frighten a few kilos out of you though.

Most travel agents charge credit card booking fees of between 1.5 and 2.5 per cent. As a honeymoon in Hawaii could easily cost a couple of newlyweds about €5,000, the credit card booking fee for that holiday could come to a whopping €125.

The travel agent, however, may have paid as little as €25 to process a €5,000 credit card transaction -- leaving it to pocket a cool €100 of your honeymoon cash.

Before booking a holiday with a travel agent, check if there is a limit to the credit card booking fee it charges.

The online travel agent ebookers.ie charges a 1.5 per cent fee for bookings made by credit card -- but the fee won't be any higher than €25. American Holidays, which charges a 2.5 per cent handling fee on credit card bookings, has a €100 limit on its fee -- which is still a hefty sum.

Tour America, however, which has a 2 per cent credit card surcharge, doesn't have any limit on its credit card booking fees.

You can avoid travel agent booking fees if you pay in cash -- and you may also be able to avoid them if you pay by Laser or debit card. There is no fee for Laser card bookings at ebookers.ie. Tour America and American Holidays do not charge booking fees if you use a Visa Debit or Laser card.

Travel insurance

To buy travel insurance from online insurer multitrip.com you'll need a credit, debit or Laser card.

You can pick up annual worldwide travel insurance for as little as €28 with multitrip.com -- but you'll have to pay a handling fee of €3.95 on top of that, representing about 14 per cent of the cost of your insurance.

The €3.95 charge is a fixed fee, according to Ciaran Mulligan, joint managing director of multitrip.com. "We introduced the fee because we were dealing with aggregators [travel insurance comparison megasites] who were taking commission on our rates and getting too greedy," said Mulligan.

Trains

If you're planning to travel by Eurostar this summer, you'll have to pay a stg£4 fee (about €4.50) for credit card bookings. Unlike the airlines, however, this fee is charged per booking rather than per passenger, so you'll pay the same fee regardless of whether you travel alone or take the kids with you.

Iarnrod Eireann charges a €3 surcharge for booking your train tickets with a credit card online. If you use a debit card to book your ticket online, you pay a €2 internet booking fee. However, if you book online, you must specify in advance what train you will catch. Miss it and you must pay again. Walk-in customers do not have to specify their train times.

Ferries and flicks

Irish Ferries and Stena Lines charge a handling fee of €6 for credit card bookings. The fee doesn't increase if you're booking more than one ticket. If you're getting the ferry from Dublin to Liverpool with P&O the surcharge for credit card bookings is stg£4 (€4.50).

If you're booking a cinema ticket with your credit card, you'll usually pay a surcharge of between 5 and 7 per cent.

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