Barclays has been fined £8.4 million by the payments industry watchdog for failing to be transparent with retailers about the fees they were being charged to use its card services.
The Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) said the FTSE 100 bank had breached the so-called interchange fee rules between the end of 2015 and 2018. “During this time Barclays processed a third of all card payment transactions in the UK, meaning thousands of retailers and transactions were affected,” it said.
Barclays had fallen short of requirements to give retailers full information about the costs of card services it supplied, the regulator added.
“When paying by card, retailers have to pay fees to accept the payment and these fees can be passed on to consumers through higher prices,” it said.
“Barclays’ failure meant retailers weren’t fully aware of the fees they were paying so could not effectively compare prices of card services, shop around to find cheaper deals, or negotiate the best deal with Barclays, which could have ultimately saved them and their customers money.”
The bank said it had “fully co-operated with the PSR’s investigation”.
The fine is another setback for Barclays and its boss Coimbatore Sundararajan Venkatakrishnan, who is known as Venkat and took charge of the bank a year ago. During his tenure, Barclays has been hit with a $361 million penalty by US regulators over a blunder at its structured products division that resulted in $17.7 billion more securities being issued by the bank than it had permission for.
The Financial Conduct Authority in October said it was planning to fine Barclays £50 million for “reckless” conduct during a fundraising it undertook with Qatari investors at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.