Merchant Surcharging – Understanding Payment Card Changes

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.

Changes to Surcharging Fees in the United States

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.

Historically Visa has not permitted retailer surcharging, but allowing surcharging was a key provision required by merchants to settle long-standing litigation brought by a class of retailers in 2005.

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 Can Offer a Discount for Cash and Check Purchases

Retailers can encourage their customers to use other forms of payment, such as cash and checks, and can discount for PIN debit and cash and checks.

You can find more information regarding the new surcharge fee at: http://usa.visa.com/personal/using_visa/checkout_fees/index.html