Most customers are surprised to find out that there is a new 4% credit card surcharge when they pay with a credit card; online and in stores. Merchants are now legally allowed to charge customers up to an extra 4% for using their credit cards.
“Starting on Sunday, retailers will be allowed to tack a surcharge of up to 4% extra onto your tab if you want to pay with a credit card.”
For years, most credit card issuers have been charging merchants “so-called interchange fees” which earned credit card companies a lot of money.
After the multi-billion dollar proposed legal settlement, merchants can do to customers what has been done to them for a long time; charge customers a credit card fee; -- up to 4%.
“In a contentious legal ruling that still is being disputed, a U.S. District Court determined last year that merchants are allowed to pass along the cost of those credit card interchange fees to customers,” reports Time.
Not all states and not all credit card companies are involved in the new credit card surcharge changes. The credit card surcharge does include Visa/Mastercard but not American Express.
Some states have protection laws for customers regarding credit card fees and surcharges including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas.
However, as with most laws, whether the credit card protection law in each one of those 10 states is being followed or not is a different story.
The watchdog group Consumer Action emphasizes that different credit cards will have different surcharges and it is the customers’ responsibility to be aware of what store charges what fee for what credit card.
Customers tend to spend up to twice as much by using credit cards. Banking expert Dennis Moroney told Time earlier this month that “credit cards are a big profit center for banks. They’re not going to let that revenue stream plummet over what’s essentially a 2% or 3% annoyance tax.”
Online purchases will most likely also be affected by the new credit card surcharge. Online merchants do not have to disclose the new credit card surcharge until a customer checks out. “Advocates worry shoppers will be too invested at that point to be dissuaded by the charge and will just suck it up.”
It will be interesting to see how many stores will actually post a sign at the door informing customers that they have to pay an extra 4% credit card surcharge.
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