Credit Card Fee Update — States Striking Back?

We’ve been striving to update you on the fallout from last autumn’s credit card fee settlement from the lawsuit where numerous merchants challenged Visa, Master Charge, et all, about the fees they were charging for credit card transactions.
One part of that fallout is that merchants are allowed to pass along a credit card “Checkout” fee to customers, but such fees have to be clearly stated in signage on the storefront (or, one presumes on the landing page of your website), and again as a separate charge clearly visible on the customer’s receipt.

But comes news as we write this that the New Jersey state legislature is considering a law that would make passing along such fees illegal. Again.  They would join 10 other states where such fees cannot be passed to consumers: California and New York are already among them.

But even in the 40ish states where such fees are allowed, many retailers are reluctant to add fees that may discourage customer card usage, and large chains like Target and Wal-Mart have already said they won’t be passing along fees to their customers, either.

But then again, maybe they can’t, due to the large scale of their chains: under the agreement, a multistate retailer with stores in any of the 10 states where the surcharge is illegal can’t impose it in states where it is.

Small business owners who already have a “minimum” credit card purchase to deal with fees are similarly reluctant to pass along additional fees which they fear could inconvenience customers.  In a story from the AP, one bakery owner in Vermont said, of the new fees,  “It’s just not going to happen. It’s hard enough to get them to accept the $5 minimum.”

If you need any additional clarification about the new fees, or figure that the new year is a good time to brush up on the services and “extras” you want to offer your customers anyway, get in touch with your AVPS representative to find out what your options and choices are.

As ever, the good advice is always free!

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