Merchant Surcharging - Understanding Payment Card Changes

As a result of a legal settlement to resolve claims brought by a group of U.S. merchants, merchants in the U.S. and U.S. territories may add a payment card surcharge, also known as a checkout fee, to certain credit card transactions starting January 27, 2013. Visa’s Operating Regulations continue to prohibit surcharging outside the U.S. unless there is a local law or variance that requires merchants be permitted to engage in the practice.

U.S. merchants that surcharge are required, among other things, to:

  • Limit surcharging to credit cards only (no surcharging debit and prepaid cards) and limit the amount of the surcharge to the applicable merchant discount rate for the credit card transaction surcharged*
  • Disclose the actual dollar amount of the surcharge on every receipt and disclose the fact that the merchant assesses a surcharge at the point of store entry and the point of sale.

Currently, 10 U.S. states have surcharging restrictions including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.

  • Consumers who are assessed surcharges in states where there are laws related to surcharging may want to discuss this with the retailer or report the retailer to their state attorney general's office.

For more information about the surcharge, or to report merchants charging excessive payment card surcharges, or surcharging debit and prepaid card transactions, visit www.visa.com/checkoutfees, and fill out the Report a Merchant Violation form if necessary. Alleged surcharging violations will be investigated.

*Retailers must limit the amount of the surcharge to the applicable merchant discount rate for the credit card transaction surcharged. In cases where the applicable merchant discount rate exceeds 4% of the underlying transaction amount, in no event can the merchant assess a surcharge above 4%.