Please try harder, demanded customers – and it appears that Iglu has done so. Richard Downs, the firm’s chief executive, told me: “We’ve found another solution, which is based around electronic funds transfer.” 

Meanwhile, if that trip to Perth for £569 appeals, you’ll need to book by Wednesday and travel from mid-April to mid-June, late August to late September, or in the five weeks from 1 November. But go ahead and put it on plastic: Cathay Pacific will not charge you an extra Australian cent.

Customers with a balance to pay are sent a web link. To minimise mistakes, key details are filled in: Iglu’s bank account and the balance to pay.

“If you look at our terms and conditions,” countered the Value Added boss, “we can do this, as long as we give people warning.”

“All the customer needs to do is put in their sort code and bank account number, and press go,” says the Iglu boss. The payment is protected by the direct debit guarantee scheme, as opposed to a bank transfer which involves sending hard-earned cash into a cybervoid.

The extra fees come out of the travel agent’s profit margin. A fashion store with a mark-up of 50 or 60 per cent might barely notice a 2 per cent credit card fee. But in the very marginal constituency of travel, the levy represents a large slice of 10 or 12 per cent commission. 

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