Consider yourself warned… Starting tomorrow (Sunday, January 27th) merchants are free to start applying a surcharge for credit card purchases.
We’ve talked in the past about credit card surcharges, and how the major card networks didn’t allow them. Well, that all changed this past summer when Visa and MasterCard agreed to allow merchants to pass the cost of card processing on to their customers.
While many merchants will hold off on applying these fees, those who choose to do so are required by law to post a notice at checkout (and/or on their website) so you’ll know before you reach for your credit card.
A few relevant notes:
- Debit cards are immune to such charges as they were explicitly excluded from the Visa/Mastercard settlement.
- American Express wasn’t a party to this settlement, and they still expressly prohibit merchants from applying a surcharge.
- There are laws prohibiting credit card surcharges in ten states (click for a list).
And, of course, you always have the option of paying with cash…