Buyer Beware: A New Surcharge for You
If you use credit cards to pay for purchases, starting this week you may be paying more.
For years, banks have made big bucks by charging stores a fee to accept your credit cards. Retailers now have the option of passing on their credit card user fee to the customer, and for small businesses those fees can cut into profits in a big way.
Store owners filed a lawsuit against the credit card companies and the fees they were charging back in 2005.
In a recent settlement that went into effect Sunday, retailers can pass those fees directly onto you and it could go as high as four percent.
Some consumers are not pleased..
"Unless that information is given to me easily and obviously, I'm gong to be really annoyed," says Barbara Walters.
"We don't actually look at our receipts or what we're being charged. So if they don't tell you right away or if it's on your receipt, are you really going to see it?" Says Chris George.
Several Kennewick retailers say those fees can reach up to $50, 000, but they have not decided if they'll pass them on to shoppers.
Denise Wood says she won't use her credit card if the fee is included. "It all depends on where I was shopping and if I needed to be there, but probably I'd just use my debit card."
The owner of Greenies in Richland, Darin Warnick says he understands why customers would balk at the added fee, and he has no plans to do that. " The number one thing we have in business is a relationship with our customers. I don't see us passing that fee on... accepting credit cards is kinda the cost of doing business," says Warnick.
Stores also have to let you know with a sign on the door if they're going to add the surcharge, and it must also be printed on your receipt.
There are laws prohibiting the surcharges in 10 states including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.