According to visa.com, as of January 27, 2013, merchants in the United States are permitted to impose a surcharge on consumers when they use a credit card.
You may be wondering, “What is a surcharge?” A payment card surcharge is a fee that a retailer adds to the cost of a purchase when a customer uses a payment card.
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 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 percent of the underlying transaction amount, in no event can the merchant assess a surcharge above 4 percent.
- 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.
I’m sure most of you have seen retailers encouraging their customers to use other forms of payment, such as cash and checks, by offering a discount for these payment methods. Most recently, I’ve seen gas stations offering a lower price per gallon for cash-paying customers.
Visit visa.com to learn more about merchant surcharges.
Will this affect your spending habits? If so, how?