New Year’s Changes: Merchant surcharges

Happy 2013 to our readers, and while this first January week may still find many of us in lingering “holiday mode,” it actually brings some “hard news” in the credit card processing business.
This past November, as the result of a class-action suit, merchants won the right to pass along their credit card processing fees to customers, beginning at the end of January.  The ruling allows merchants to recoup their swipe fees, with a cap at 4 percent. Also as a result of the ruling, Visa and other defendents (no — not us!) agreed to pay merchants over $6 billion in settlement money, and temporarily reduce their swipe fees.The ruling found that Visa had engaged in anti-competitive price fixing when setting their fees, and the changes are a result of the suit. For more on the rundown of those changes, you can go to Visa’s site here, to see what’s in store for early ‘13.Of course, just because the fees can be charged, doesn’t mean they will be. Merchants may want to stay competitive — and welcoming of charge cards — by waiving those fees. On the other hand, few airlines have managed to stay away from the temptation of charging baggage fees in recent years.

Nonetheless, any merchant that does pass along credit processing charges to customers must clearly post that they are charging the fees, and what those fees are. For online merchants, this means posting a notice clearly on your webpage.

Which means, of course, that competitors can also clearly post they’re not charging those fees,  and so the competitive circle keeps spinning ‘round.

Here at AVPS, our fees have been competitive as well, making it easier for our merchant customers — and their customers. If you have any additional questions about these changes in the pipeline, or if you want to follow up on those new year’s resolutions to start making it even easier for your customers to find ways to pay you, contact your AVPS rep today. They’re ready to wish you the happiest and most prosperous of new years!

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