It just started on January 27th. Retailers are now officially allowed to charge you a surcharge of up to 4 percent just for paying with your credit card, instead of debit or cash.
This is all because of a lawsuit settlement between retailers and several major banks, plus Visa and MasterCard.
It costs a store to process your transaction when you pay with credit, so the settlement allows retailers to pass those costs onto you.
But, will retailers really charge you more?
“The retailers we have talked to throughout the state, no one intends on applying a surcharge,” according to Michelle Ahlmer with the Arizona Retailers Association .
She said there is one main reason no retailers implement this fee: Competition.
“Retail is the most competitive environment,” she said.
National retailers will have a hard time applying the surcharge, Ahlmer said, because 10 states – not including Arizona – prohibit them by law.
Another hurdle? Ahlmer stressed that American Express doesn't allow merchants to add surcharges and merchants have to apply the same fees to every card. So, if a store accepts American Express, they would not be able to assess a surcharge on any card.
If Arizona businesses choose not to implement the surcharge, they won’t be alone. Walmart told ABC News , “We are not interested in surcharging customers in order to allow credit card companies to continue charging unfair fees.”
And, for small businesses, Ahlmer said it would be especially hard to add the charge.
“A small retailer just can’t add another surcharge on and be competitive in that purchasing world,” she said.
In the past, retailers haven’t been allowed to charge you for buying something with a credit card instead of cash or debit. But, even though retailers say they won’t assess the charges, consumer advocates worry that the charges will become the norm after some time.
Retailers are required to post the surcharge clearly in their stores and on their websites if they do decide to charge it.
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