Backlash Against Credit Card Surcharging Appears Growing
An increasing number of states across the country are considering legislation that would block the ability of retailers to surcharge consumers who pay for a purchase using a credit card, according to CUNA.
The trade group said 28 states have either put such bans in place or are considering them.
That ability used to be forbidden by card acceptance agreements between retailers and the major card brands, but those rules were dropped as part of a proposed settlement to ongoing antitrust litigation between some retailers, the major card brands and six major credit card issuers.
But retailers opposed to the settlement terms have used the easing of restrictions on surcharging as an example of how the settlement falls short, contending that while the settlement agreement allows merchants to surcharge for card use, doing so would put them at a severe disadvantage with competitors who did not surcharge.
They also point out that any surcharging would have to be done with additional rules that make it harder to do.
For example, merchants who want to surcharge credit card transactions must notify the card brand that they are surcharging and limit the surcharge to no more than the interchange rate they would pay on a given transaction and never more than 4% of the transaction value.
They must also notify the consumer that they are surcharging the transaction. Retailers must post notices of the surcharge at both their store's front entrance and at the point of sale.
Nonetheless, even the possibility that some retailers, somewhere, might surcharge a transaction conducted on a card appears to have fired lawmakers' imaginations and led them in 18 states to propose adding such surcharging to their books, according to the association.
Ten states, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas already had such surcharging bans in place.