As of Sunday, January 27, 2013, retailers are officially allowed to add a surcharge of up to 4.00% onto your bill if you opt to pay with a credit card. The good news, though, is that it can be avoided.
Interchange fees have been charged for years, but until recently, most people were unaware of what this meant. An interchange fee is the fee, typically about 2.00%, that a store pays us or your local bank or credit union when you use a credit card at check out.
For low-margin businesses like supermarkets as well as mom-and-pop stores that don’t have the influence of their larger competitors to bargain lower rates, these fees greatly cut into profits. Because of this new law, businesses are now allowed to pass the fee onto you, the customer.
Here’s the good news! By using an Aspire FCU debit card at checkout, the surcharge cannot and will not be applied to your purchase; therefore, you are spared the additional surcharge of up to 4.00% of your purchase. There are also laws prohibiting these surcharges in 10 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.
These stores that charge the additional fees will be required to inform you of their decision to charge you for the surcharge with a sign on the door, although there is no requirement of stating how much the fee will be.
Because of today’s extremely competitive retail landscape, many stores will be hesitant to initiate this surcharge to its customers, but we want you to be aware of the changes you may begin to see in the near future.