Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meta: Credit Card payment surcharges now legal in 40 US states (YMMV)

This a wallet-impact alert. As part of a settlement between the credit card companies and retailers, in forty (40) US states, retailers can now charge credit card fees on purchases made with credit cards. This is not mandatory, it depends on what individual retailers and retail chains decide to do. This will probably play out in the next few weeks and months, but it is something to keep an eye out for. The surcharge may be up to 4% of the purchase price. This only applies to credit cards, not debit cards.

The ten states that won't allow credit card surcharges of any kind are: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Mass, Maine, Conn, Oklahoma and Kansas.

It will be interesting to see whether this is applied more at the brick and mortar level versus online purchases, since cash and check payments for online purchases are not exactly ideal. It will be interesting to see how it is applied in interstate purchases where there are differences in surcharge laws.

Details so far at ABC News and Reuters and The Verge and Geek.com et al.

On the other hand, cash is not exactly without cost. Those big armored security trucks that come and pick up bags full of cash are certainly not free. If a store is robbed, the cash will fly away, but the credit card payments will not. Plus, credit card purchases offer consumers certain protections and flexibility that you can't get with cash payments.



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