Some stores may charge credit card fee

January 28, 2013 3:02:08 PM PST
Paying by credit card could get more expensive.

Under the terms of a $7.2 billion settlement reached last summer between credit card companies and merchants, merchants will be free to impose a surcharge of up to four percent on customers paying by credit card.

The good news is, very few big retailers are planning to do that.

For years, Visa and Mastercard have been charging stores an interchange fee, which means the retailer pays every time a customer uses a credit card.

The interchange fee can really eat into profits, especially for mom-and-pop stores that have low margins.

Fortunately, according to the National Retail Federation, "The surcharge'settlement, which NRF opposes, will not impact many - if any - consumers. In fact, the NRF has not heard a single retailer proposing the surcharge."

In fact, because of the way the settlement is structured, most national retailers can't charge the fee anyway. Retailers who accept American Express as well as Visa and Mastercard won't be able to levy the surcharge either.

And, if a retailer does charge the fee, it must post a sign in the store and, online, the notice it must post something before check-out.

Debit card users won't be impacted.

If you're a business owner, connect with Nydia Han on Facebook and tell her if you are planning to pass along the surcharge.

If you're a customer, let Nydia know if you have seen a business passing along the surcharge.