‘Swipe and pay’ fee to hit customers

Paying with magnetic strip instead of chip will cost 7.5 kroner, regardless of the reason

Most shoppers have been in the irritating situation when their credit card chip fails to work and they’re asked to instead swipe the card’s magnetic strip through the card reader. According to metroXpress newspaper, this is about to become an annoyance that customers will have to pay for.

Gradually being phased in this month, a 7.5 kroner fee will be imposed when a card’s magnetic strip is used, regardless of the reason. And while that’s sure to irritate consumers, they’re not alone. A Socialdemokraterne (S) MP said that she finds it unethical and illegal.


Customers using a Mastercard, Eurocard or American Express card will have to pay a 7.5 kroner fee every time they use the magnetic strip instead of their chip. Customers have to pay even if the chip terminal at the shop is out of order, and even though many consumers already pay a fee to use their credit cards.


Teller, the largest acquirer of international payment cards in the Nordic region and a company that is partially owned by the Danish banks, was unable to estimate how many millions of kroner the new fee is expected to generate.


A company spokesperson said that chip readers often don’t work because shops don’t maintain their credit card terminals properly, and argued that the new fee would encourage better upkeep.


“They are simply not proficient enough when it comes to cleaning the terminal chip readers and the fee, which we are reluctant to incorporate, will urge the shops to better maintain their terminals,” Søren Winge, a spokesperson for Teller, told metroXpress.


Teller also wants the shops to ask customers to try paying via the chip three times before attempting with the magnetic strip, leading to another possible annoyance for customers: longer queues.


Henrik Hyltoft, the marketing director for business advocacy group Dansk Erhverv, said that if a card’s chip doesn’t work it can’t always be blamed on the stores.  


“Often it is the customers fault,” Hyltoft told metroXpress. “They tend to leave the cards in their pockets which damages the chips.”


Still, Hyltoft contended that the fee was out of proportion.


“Teller’s fee can be compared to a ‘stupidity fee’ and it will only be the customer that foots the bill,” Hyltoft said.


Trine Bramsen, the IT spokesperson from S, was furious to hear about the fee and wants it abolished before it begins to gradually take effect.


“This creative fee is completely unreasonable and unethically grotesque. And we actually believe that it’s illegal as well,” Bramsen told metroXpress, adding that she has asked the competition and consumer board, Konkurrence- og Forbrugerstyrelsen, to evaluate the fee’s legality. “The board’s initial evaluation was also that this is illegal, so we will demand severe repercussions for Teller.”


Teller, on the other hand, dismissed allegations that the fee is illegal, indicating that it is not illegal as long as the fee involves credit cards only and not debit cards, such as the widely-used Dankort/Visa-Dankort, which would not face a fee for using the magnetic strip.