Beginning January 27, 2013, as a result of a settlement to resolve claims brought by a group of U.S. merchants in the multi-district interchange litigation (MDL), merchants in the U.S. and U.S. territories may add a payment card surcharge, also known as a checkout fee, to certain credit card transactions.
U.S. and U.S. territory merchants must, among other things, limit surcharging to credit card transactions only (no surcharging debit or prepaid card purchases) and limit the amount of the surcharge to the applicable merchant discount rate for the credit card transaction surcharged*. Merchants must also disclose the actual dollar amount of the surcharge on every receipt and disclose the fact that the merchant assesses a surcharge at the point of store entry and at the point of sale. Currently, 10 U.S. states have surcharging restrictions including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.
To report merchants charging excessive payment card surcharges, or surcharging debit and prepaid card transactions, cardholders may visit www.visa.com/checkoutfees and fill out the Report a Merchant Violation form. Cardholders who are assessed surcharges in states where there are laws related to surcharging may want to discuss this with the retailer or report the retailer to their state attorney general’s office.
*In cases where the applicable merchant discount rate exceeds 4% of the underlying transaction amount, in no event can the merchant assess a surcharge above 4%.