New credit card surcharge fees could affect you

7:14 PM, Jan 28, 2013   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- As a result of a legal settlement in November, you may start paying more to use your credit card.

New regulations went into effect Sunday that allow merchants in 40 states to pass along surcharge fees to their customers every time they swipe.

Maine is 1 of 10 states that has a law banning merchant surcharges, which means we will not see these fees here.

Massachusetts and Connecticut are included in that, but New Hampshire and Vermont are open to the new fees.  That also means, if you shop online, you could be hit with the fee there.

The next thing to know is the surcharge fee can only be applied to credit cards, debit cards are off the hook.

For years, merchants have been paying a surcharge fee every time you swipe your card at their store. As a result of this legal settlement in November, merchants now have the ability to pass those charges on to you, the consumer. That surcharge fee can range from just over 1% to 4% depending on where you're shopping and the type of credit card you're using.

Just because it's now allowed, merchants won't necessarily choose to pass that fee along to the consumer. Big box stores like Wal Mart have already said they'll continue to pay it themselves. If a store does choose to charge the surcharge fee, they must display that at their entrance, the front counter, and on your receipt.

Rebekah Higgins, with the Maine Credit Union League, says she understands why a smaller business would pass along the fee, but it could scare customers away.

VISA breaks down the surcharge into more detail on their website, click here for more information.


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