A Business Charged Me a Fee for Paying By Credit Card

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A Business Charged Me a Fee for Paying By Credit Card!
Posted on May 4, 2011 at 1:00 AM

We received an e-mail from one of our readers today. It seems consumers are already being bit by the Government’s crusade against the electronic payment industry.

To: the merchant processing resource

Today I was charged a surcharge of 2% extra on a $2,099 purchase. I complained because I thought this was against the Mastercard rules but to no avail. How may I go about lodging a complaint regarding this merchant?

– Doug


Hi Doug,

We understand your frustration. However, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that passed in July 2010, in addition to the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuits nullified the payment network rules about surcharging. As we understand it, a business can now charge extra to customers that pay by credit card. This is allowed so long as they apply it to all their customers in a uniform manner (to avoid discrimination), they don’t selectively base it on card issuing bank, and don’t selectively apply it to a particular payment network.

That means if they do it to MasterCard customers, they have to do it for customers that have a Visa, Discover, and any other network. Banks that issue cards must be accepted equally as well. They can’t apply a surcharge to a customer with a Wells Fargo MasterCard, and fail to apply it to a customer with a HSBC MasterCard.

Although they can selectively surcharge customers with rewards, sky miles, or cash back. A customer with no rewards can legally be charged a lower price than a customer with a sky miles credit card. There are higher interchange fees associated with accepting a card with rewards and thus businesses now have the option to pass that cost on to the consumer.

It’s unfortunate the business charged you a fee, but they can do it if they want. Next time threaten to make the purchase with a direct competitor and see if that fee goes away.

We touched a bit on this topic in this article here: https://debanked.com/apps/blog/show/5603447-take-your-rewards-card-and-get-out-of-my-store-


– deBanked


Last modified: August 31, 2011
Sean Murray

Category: Merchant Processing, MPR Authored

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