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Belgium clamps down on credit card use fees

With changes set to hit the American credit card system soon, Belgium is also clamping down on excessive charges for credit card use.

The European Parliament voted 615-16 in favor of a consumer rights directive on Thursday, FT.com reports. According to New Europe, the vote followed a deal reached between the three EU institutions, the European Commission, Parliament and Council.

A major provision of the law ensures that traders pass on only the actual cost of charges to people paying by credit or debit card, rather than any surcharge, according to BBC News.

The new law also provides online shoppers with greater transparency on costs and allows a 14 day cooling off period for purchases made online. Another provision bans customer service phone lines being charged at a premium rate.

Eurochambres, an association of more than 1,200 European Chambers of Commerce and Industry, strongly positioned themselves against the legislation.

“The bill is detrimental to millions of SMEs throughout Europe, generating both uncertainty and hugely disproportionate administrative costs, in return for little or no gain for consumers,” the association said in a statement following the vote.

The United States is also set to begin enforcing new financial regulations and consumer protection laws and recently established a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

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