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New Credit Card Surcharge Rules

In November 2012, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York preliminarily approved a proposed settlement agreement in the In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation. As part of this settlement, Visa and MasterCard rules prohibiting surcharging for merchants in the U.S. for credit card transactions will change beginning January 27, 2013.

Surcharge requirements issued by Visa and MasterCard include:

-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 at the point of sale.

-Cap on the level of the surcharge. The level of the fee that a merchant may charge a cardholder is capped in relation to the merchant's cost for Visa and MasterCard credit acceptance.

-Merchants that choose to surcharge credit card transactions must provide 30 days advance written notice to Visa Inc., MasterCard Worldwide, and your acquirer prior to surcharging, and must identify whether the merchant intends to impose surcharges at the brand or product level.

At this time, Harbortouch has initiated a task force to address these new rules regarding surcharges and how to best serve our customers. We will continue to update you in the upcoming months.

For a summary of the rules changes, visit the websites of Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide. For a full overview of these rule changes are set forth in full in the Settlement Agreement, which appears on the settlement website.

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About the Author

Marguerite Fischer, Pride Merchant Services
11B Appleton St
Boston, MA 02116
(866) 275-7317

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