MasterCard® and Visa® networks changes concerning merchant surcharging
Please be informed that MasterCard® and Visa® networks implemented very fundamental changes concerning merchant surcharging. In accordance with the decision of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, dated November 2012, VISA® is required to implement certain changes, allowing merchants to surcharge certain credit card transactions beginning January 27, 2013. Once the rule changes take place, merchants in the U.S. and U.S territories that choose to surcharge will be forced to follow certain requirements, including the disclosure of surcharge practices to customers at the store entry point and at the point of sale.
Please note that surcharges are prohibited on debit and prepaid card transactions. Currently, surcharges are also not allowed in the following 10 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. Consumers who are subject to surcharge or checkout fees in these states may want to report the retailer to their state attorney general’s office.
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.
U.S. merchants will have the option of adding a surcharge to either all or to particular types of Visa® credit card transactions. Specific limits will apply to each of these types of surcharges and merchant surcharges cannot in any event exceed the maximum amount of 4% of the underlying transaction.
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.