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Checkout fees take effect

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Monday, January 28, 2013
Posted: 4 pm ET

Starting this week, Americans may find a new checkout fee on their receipts if they pay by credit card.

Retailers can now charge up to 4 percent for credit card transactions under a provision in a class-action settlement between retailers and Visa, MasterCard and major banks. The new provision took effect Jan. 27 and allows retailers to recoup the fees they pay to credit card networks for processing credit cards.

Retailers cannot profit from the surcharges, which affect only credit card transactions and not debit or prepaid purchases, according to the settlement that was reached in July. Ten states -- California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas -- ban these surcharges, so the settlement is moot in those areas.

So far, no major national retailer has announced a credit card checkout fee, says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at SmartCredit.com.

"I would be very surprised, too, because they compete on price," he says. "It's like them saying, 'Hey, we're going to raise our prices.'"

Instead, Ulzheimer expects to see the surcharge pop up at liquor stores, gas stations (where profit margins are notoriously slim as it is) and mom and pop shops that operate one or few locations.

MasterCard also doesn't expect many retailers to start charging these fees, either, says company spokesman Seth Eisen. But if they do, customers must be told in advance, he notes.

Retailers must disclose the checkout fee at the store entrance, at the cash register and on your receipt. Online retailers must provide the disclosure on their website.

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron

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57 Comments
Dennis Rabon
February 06, 2013 at 12:04 am

Wal mart wont charge...they have thier own bank...Everyone will start buying grocerys at Wal Mart...During that time Wal Mart will advertise NO charge for credit / debit card use and probably offer a rewards system for the more you purchase.This is monopoly that will turn to cost rises on products...Little by little and you will never notice

jlowe51
February 05, 2013 at 4:33 pm

If a business charges this fee then I would suggest that you pay them with a check. The cost of processing that check will be greater for them than the credit card fee. If won’t take them long to get the message and they will stop the credit card fee.

amazonmom
February 03, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Not one small retailer or mom and pop shop in the greater Seattle area discloses their surcharge until you are already at the register.

One small restaurant wanted to charge me 2 dollars to use a debit card to pay for a 10 dollar breakfast. Since the owner was waiting the table I called it her tip (the money was going in her pocket if it was called a tip or a convenience fee, she admitted the transaction only costs her 25 cents) I have to go back to the stone age and carry loads of cash now, or only go to chain stores/big box stores to avoid the fees.

Larry Wallace
February 01, 2013 at 8:15 pm

It's no wonder that organizations like OCCUPY have risen!, these are criminals making laws to fit there own taylor way of life, and making way for jobs for college gubbers!, since they woon't actually work in the real world, your asking for a revolution, and you are responsible for it happening, I am sick of these nothings making it right to use financial engineering to knock people who are great at credit, but because a software engineer programmed people to get shafted for bad credit when they actually are in good credit shape, sick of credit!, sick of these college creeps getting away with everything, not for long!!! :) .........

Randy
February 01, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Credit Card Co. have been charging a fee to business's for decades and most business' have just included it in their mark-up. This new rule simply allows each business to add this fee on to your charge.Anyone want to bet if they add this fee on to your bill that they will reduce what they charge you for their product by this amount since it will no longer have to be included in the mark-up? I doubt it,it will just allow them to increase their profit margin. By the way,sellers should shop around for a lower rate,where I live that is below 2%