ABTA is to meet with top-level management at NatWest
bank’s card payment division, Streamline, in a bid to lower credit card charges
for agents.

ABTA has come under fire from agents for failing to
block increases in credit card charges from Streamline.

For an agent with a credit card turnover of less than
£2 million, charges for cards covered by NatWest Streamline will rise from
1.23% to 1.35% of the cost of a holiday from August 1. Other card charges will
increase from 1.23% to 1.4%.

Peter Hardman, partner at PR World Travel, said ABTA

has let its members down.

“We will be asking customers to complain bitterly to
their card issuers,” he said, adding that he paid more than £20,000 a year in
charges to Streamline.

ABTA chief executive Ian Reynolds said he regretted
the increase, but argued the travel industry’s rates were better than those in
other industries.

He added ABTA plans to meet with Streamline next month
to discuss a series of schemes to reduce fraud – one of the factors Streamline
claims has prompted the increase in rates.

Developments being mooted include using
the chip and pin cards used across Europe – where the credit card is fitted
with a chip and the customer has to key in a pin number.