Retailers to add credit card processing fees to consumers’ tabs

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, January 30, 2013

Buyers beware: Using a credit card to pay for your favorite items at many stores may now charge you more than you think.

Retailers who accept MasterCard and Visa are now allowedto add a credit card surcharge to consumer purchases. The charge can be anywhere between one and four percent of the total bill and is used by the merchants to repay the fees that MasterCard and Visa charge the merchants for credit card processing.

The new fees, which went into effect on Sunday, are the result of an antitrust settlement between merchants and the two leading credit card companies last year.

Fortunately, not everyone is affected by this. Ten states, including Colorado, New York and Texas, already have laws on the books banning merchants from passing on the fees to consumers. Several major retailers, including Walmart, Target and Sears, have already announced that they will fortunately not pass on the charge to consumers.

While other credit card companies including American Express and Discover are not named in the antitrust suit, they are still allowed to charge the fees. In addition, any merchant that decides to charge the surplus is required to disclose the charge to consumers at checkout.

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