Credit card users may see new fee
by Staff Reports
A recent settlement agreement between credit card companies and retailers means customers may see new surcharges for using credit cards, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Thursday.
Typically, merchants pay credit card companies such as VISA and MasterCard a processing fee each time a customer uses a credit card. Historically, credit card companies and large banks that issue cards prohibited merchants from passing that cost directly on to customers.
But retailers took the credit card companies to court, and under a settlement agreement, credit card companies can no longer prevent retailers from imposing a surcharge for using a credit card.
The added charge is supposed to cover the merchant's cost to accept the card, and it can be anywhere from 1.5 percent to 4 percent of the purchase price, not including sales tax.
allowed to charge the fee, but they aren't required to do so, and so far most
merchants don't appear to be rushing to impose it.
But if a merchant
is going to charge you this extra fee, they have to tell you. They are required
to post a notice at the entrance to the store and at the checkout register and
print it on your receipt. They also have to notify you before you make a credit
card purchase online.
The settlement agreement didn't apply to debit cards, nor did it impact American Express cards.
If you believe that you've been charged this fee without being notified about it, or have been charged the fee on the entire amount rather than just the retail price, contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint online at http://www.ncdoj.gov.