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Shoppers pay in Laser opt-out

IRISH consumers face bigger shopping bills due to new card fees, retailers have claimed.

Major Irish banks are opting out of the domestic Laser scheme in favour of VISA debit which will effectively double interchange fees.

These will be passed on to retailers and, ultimately, consumers.

A summit of retailers, chaired by CMS Payments Intelligence, brought together 40 of the top retailers in Ireland -- including Domino's Pizza, Dublin Airports Authority, HMV, Maxol and Primark -- to discuss their options.

Most delegates, 68pc, agreed it was inevitable the increasing costs of interchange fees would be passed on to the consumer.

Consumers are likely to have little choice in the matter as their banks switch from one card to another.

The fees charged for the operation of the cards are higher than those currently charged for the common Laser debit card.

Retailers, already struggling with reduced sales say they will not be able to absord the cost. New cards for very small purchases - up to €15 - are also set to come with hefty fees.