Beginning January 27, 2013, merchants in the United States and U.S. Territories will be permitted to impose a surcharge on consumers when they use a credit card. These are fees that merchants will add to your bill if you use a credit card at checkout.
What This Means for Consumers:
- Consumers will pay an additional fee when they use their credit card at retailers that decide to surcharge.
- Consumers should be aware there are limits to the amount merchants can surcharge. *
- Retailers are permitted to apply a surcharge to only credit card purchases and cannot impose a surcharge for purchases made using a debit or prepaid card.
- If retailers intend to impose a surcharge on credit card purchases, they are required to notify customers before customers make an actual purchase at the store entrance and at the point of sale – or in an online environment, on the first page that references credit card brands.
- Retailers must disclose surcharge fees on every receipt – both in store and online. Carefully review receipts where checkout fees should appear.
*Retailers must limit the amount of the surcharge to the applicable merchant discount rate for the credit card transaction surcharged. In cases where the applicable merchant discount rate exceeds 4% of the underlying transaction amount, in no event can the merchant assess a surcharge above 4%.
However, it may not apply to all stores:
Credit card surcharges are banned by law in 10 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.
Visa and MasterCard have rules that require retailers to handle credit cards the same way in all of their stores across the country. That means a chain with stores in any of the 10 states where a surcharge is banned would not be able to have a surcharge at any of its stores.