Credit Card Transaction Surcharging
There’s been a great deal of talk in my virtual assisting circles about credit card transaction fee surcharging. If you’re not familiar, credit card industry laws changed not long ago that will now allow back charging the consumer for the credit card transaction fees that merchants were charged. Only credit cards, NOT debit cards or pre-paid (gift) cards, this includes a debit card entered as a credit card.
Right now, Visa, MasterCard, American Express are allowing their merchants to surcharge customers. Here are the caveats. You must register with both Visa and MasterCard to surcharge your customers, you must post it visibly for online and offline sales on your website, invoice, or at your checkout, or if in person you must post it visibly at the door and checkout counters, and you cannot charge more of a fee than what the actual transaction fee is. Allowable fees are typically between 1% – 4%. Fees must be clearly marked on all receipts.
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma and Texas—and Puerto Rico have laws that prohibit merchants from charging consumers with surcharges on credit card transactions.
If you’re a Visa merchant and want to register (here) by filling out an online form. There is also a link to the requirements to the merchant in order to surcharge their transaction fees.
For MasterCard there is also a form and other requirements to be met before you begin to surcharge. You can begin the process by completing an online form (here).
As for PayPal, they do not allow you to charge a surcharge, but you can add in a handling fee. Their policy is explained in the User Agreement.
Merchants are raising fees across the board and offering a discount for cash, check or debit card purchases. But my questions is this: How can you be sure that the fees aren’t being charged to you anyway, then the merchant adding an additional checkout fee on the receipt? Answer is, you can’t.
Be sure to check every receipt! Although full disclosure is required, this could be overlooked so always check your receipts.
I’ve made it a promise to my clients – my virtual assisting clients and on our store (www.hilltop-arts.com) that no check out fees will ever be charged. I don’t think its smart to add on fees to your clients. Why not? Accepting credit cards is a convenience for me as well as them. If I’m charging a checkout fee, why take credit cards? This is a cost of my doing business and is a legitimate tax deduction. But more importantly, I don’t want this fee added to me when I’m checking out, why do I want to give that to my customers? I feel it would detract from the reputation I’ve worked for over 18 years to establish of being a quality and affordable service provider.
It doesn’t make sense to me. What do you think?