Businesses allowed to charge extra for credit card usage - FOX Carolina 21

Businesses allowed to charge extra for credit card usage

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Several credit cards are displayed on a table. (File/FOX Carolina) Several credit cards are displayed on a table. (File/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Instead of watching cold hard cash leave a pocket, it's so easy to swipe a credit card while shopping.

Customers may soon see a higher charge on credit cards. Sunday, retail merchants were given the right to charge customers a surcharge, from 1 to 4 percent for using a credit card versus cash or debit.

The surcharge, or "check-out fee," is the cost that businesses pay credit card companies, passed on to their customers if they pay with a credit card. This isn't saying many businesses will do it, but it's an appealing idea to many business owners to help ease their burden of paying all the fees.

Local businesses in Greenville's West End said they're not sure they'll do it any time soon for fear of scaring away customers who pay with plastic.

Shopper Ashley McClymont said she may switch from using credit card to cash if a business would charge an extra 4 percent. However, she understands that the charges can become a lot for a small business since her father and sister both own their own businesses. "I think it's only fair to pass on the charge."

Businesses will be happy to take the cash if customers change their mind, but if businesses decide to charge for credit card usage, they have to let the customers know about the surcharge before they buy by posting signs.

Retailers in 40 states, including South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia, all now have this right.

Many big stores like Walmart have vowed not to extend that surcharge to their customers.

Surcharges can only be passed on for people paying with Visa and Mastercards, not for debit card usage. In 2005, a handful of businesses filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Visa, Mastercard and others. Years down the line, the settlement has been made with a $6 billion payout to those businesses and this right for businesses to charge their customers to cover their fees.

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