A change in credit card fees could have consumers switching from plastic to paper.

As of Jan. 26, stores all over the country can begin charging credit card users a “checkout fee” with every swipe.

“This is an attempt, in a low-interest rate environment, to make some money,” said Dr. Reza Hamzaee, professor of economics at Missouri Western State University. “In my opinion, honestly, it is a very stupid idea. This is not the time.”

The fee can range from 1½ to 3 percent of the total purchase price. The fee is based on a retailer’s processing costs to cover that particular transaction. The fee will not apply when customers use a debit card.

The additional charges stem from a July 2012 lawsuit and a $7.25 billion settlement where the credit card companies were charged with fixing their processing fees. The credit card issuers also reduced the merchants’ “checkout fees.” The truce lasted only eight months.

Now, merchants can pass those fees onto their customers every time they use plastic to pay. It’s somewhat uncharted territory.

“It used to be illegal,” said Dave Holland, who co-owns Dunkin’ Donuts, Fun Tan Salons and Arby’s in St. Joseph.

“We’re allowed to charge more for customers who use credit cards. But I don’t think it’s going to make a difference in business.”

Dr. Hamzaee said the surcharges will prevent people from using credit cards. “People will consider to write checks or pay cash. I know I’m not going to use my credit card.”

Mr. Holland said that when fees go up, ultimately the price of products will go up. The credit card company deducts their fees right off the top.

It still is illegal for merchants to charge the new fee in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.

But merchants aren’t required to charge their customers the fee. In fact, several big name retailers are continuing to take on the extra costs.

Target, Walmart and J.C. Penney are just a few taking a stand against the credit card companies.

“We believe in doing what’s fair and square for the customer,” said Joey Thomas, media relations manager for J.C. Penney. “So we have no plans to impose credit card surcharges.”

Jennifer Hall can be reached at jenn.hall@newspressnow.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPHall.







(11) comments

Shirlee_K
Shirlee_K

Call it what it is please, "inflation".

Is it correct that these fees are not to be charged on debit card transactions?

GoHawkeyes
GoHawkeyes

No charges for debit transactions.

GoHawkeyes
GoHawkeyes

This doesn't affect Discover or American Express, only Visa and Mastercard. Glaring omission from the article. I'm sure they'll probably stealth edit it though.

This new regulation allowing businesses to pass on the fee is ridiculous. Any business owner with any bit of intelligence has already included this cost of doing business into the pricing of their product. This new regulation just allows businesses to recover the transaction cost twice, and therefore make a higher profit. The companies that have stated they will not charge the customer the fee are doing it right. Do yourself and everyone a favor and refuse to shop at a place that insists on passing on this fee.

Content
Content

GoHawkeyes - I agree 100%!!!

tundra95
tundra95

Okay here we go again. The credit card processing is a scam their is no rules or regulations to how the companies can decide to charge fees (and it is not mastercard or visa) its the processor. As for forwards the fee onto the customer... companies have been paying 3% and more for years to process that card for you. Then all the people running around with POINTS...who do you think pays for that?? The lovely business you just swiped you card at. So whatever your percentage in points was 1% ...2% of purchase now is 4 to 5% cost to that business. . When the government came into save the people from the late fee, who do you think they made their money off of. More fees to the business.

tundra95
tundra95

Now lets talk about the PCI compliant. This is still the government coming in to save the people. So the now the processor has to set up a system to assure no one is saving your information when you leave the store. So guess who got the pay for this lovely add on, oh yeah the local business that is accepting your convenient card.

tundra95
tundra95

So finally let see why Walmart Penney's & target won't pass the bill on. Oh yeah that's right they are large enough they are their own processor or large enough the processor gives them a huge deal.
I say charge the customer for that "convenience" . So maybe next time you walk into your local bar, mom & pop shop or restaurant or pull out that points card and get added the 5% you just cost the business, maybe next time you'll think.

smith
smith

What drivel.

First, the government didn't change this, Visa/Mastercard agreed in a lawsuit settlement to change their rules.

Second, the processing companies are in fact providing a service. The fee is spilt between multiple banks/companies.

Third, where do you think those "points" that allow free airlines tickets etc. come from? They are paid for by the processing fees.

Fourth, there is a charge for debit card transactions, but it was changed significantly under the Dodd-Frank law and now averages 43 cents.

Fifth, that fee also provides you with fraud protection that you don't get with a debit card.

dalearch
dalearch

You're close. The only debit card transactions reduced are transactions done on cards issued by banks with over $10 billion in assets. They're called "regulated transactions".

Debit card transactions on cards issued by small local banks are not regulated.

I know this doesn't make sense to thinking people - but we're talking about a dumocrat bill here.

tundra95
tundra95

First the government did change the rules, when they wrote the bill preventing credit card companies from charging people huge late fees and etc. Also in the bill was rules for processor that changed.

Second the process company is providing a service, you are correct. But ask the company to clarify how each card is processed by what fee they collect. You will get a wide arrange of answers, that more or less is unclear. They like to rattle off things like card fraud, world card, rewards cards...etc.

Third that processing fee is paid by each individual company that takes your card.

Your fourth and fifth point is exactly what is stated I would refer back to point 2.

As to you law suit this proves the point...
"Estimated to be the largest-ever antitrust settlement, the deal would end a seven-year-long case alleging that the card companies conspired with major banks to fix interchange, or swipe, fees charged to merchants when customers pay with plastic. Retailers opposed to the deal claim it forces them to give up too many rights to sue over card company practices in the future. :

Content
Content

Not every business will be able to do it. They have to meet certain criteria first and then it's their choice.

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