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Merchants Discouraged From Charging New Visa and MasterCard Surcharge

New rules allow merchants to add a fee when customers pay using a credit card.

Feb. 13, 2013 - PRLog -- On January 27, 2013, merchants in the United States and U.S. Territories were allowed to begin imposing a surcharge on consumers when they use a credit card. The ability to tack on an extra fee to the receipts of consumers who pay with credit cards was a key provision required by merchants to settle long-standing litigation brought by a class of retailers in 2005.

“Don't expect many merchants to start charging the new surcharge because it could alienate customers and drive business to their competitors.” Trennier Mathews of Vital Cash Flow said. “Unless all merchants impose a fee on credit card purchases, customers will just patronize businesses that don’t charge anything to make a purchase."

Under the provision, merchants must post signs at their store entrances and cash registers notifying consumers that they impose a surcharge on credit-card transactions (debit-card surcharges are not allowed). They must also include the amount of the surcharge on customers' receipts, and generally are not allowed to charge more than what they pay to accept cards.

Visa and MasterCard are preparing for the eventuality that some merchants may elect to surcharge, and they are working to ensure merchants have the tools needed to surcharge, and that such fees are "aligned with the settlement agreement" and "transparent to the consumer.”

“Instead of surcharging customers, merchants should develop a plan to reward customers for paying with cash” Mathews said. "Credit card companies use points, miles, and cash back to encourage their cardholders to use credit or debit. Merchants must offer customers an equal or greater incentive for using cash to level the playing field.” Mathews said.

For a report on encouraging customers to spend more cash visit www.bit.ly/nosurcharge.

Trennier Mathews

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Contact Email:
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Source:Vital Cash Flow
Location:Orlando - Florida - United States
Industry:Business, Consumer
Tags:Merchant Surcharging, Credit Card Processing
Last Updated:Feb 13, 2013
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