In late January, Visa and MasterCard announced that as a result of a November 2012 federal district court settlement ruling, merchants in the U.S. and U.S. territories were able to add a surcharge to cover their cost of acceptance for certain credit card transactions. Debit and prepaid cards are not eligible for surcharging.
The ability to add a surcharge at the point of sale (POS) requires system updates by acquirers and, depending on a merchant’s POS system, possibly by merchants themselves. The Visa and MasterCard websites provide rules and requirements for implementing surcharges.
WorldPay, MIRA’s endorsed credit card processing program for c-stores and grocers, offers these steps you must take if you plan to surcharge:
Tell your customers about your surcharge practices at your entrance and POS. Your disclosures must include: The amount you surcharge A statement that you, the merchant, are imposing the surcharge (not the payment network) A statement that the surcharge is not greater than card’s cost of acceptance The surcharge dollar amount on every receipt
Should you surcharge? Adding surcharges may affect the way your customers feel about doing business with you and could send them to competitors who choose not to surcharge. This extra customer fee—which appears on every receipt—will be highly visible and may hurt your business. Find out if your competitors surcharge. You may be able to gain an advantage with customers by skipping surcharges.