Swipe Fee Settlement: “Checkout Fees” To Begin In 40 States

What's Next In Payments®
8:08 PM EDT January 27th, 2013

Planning on paying for something with a MasterCard or Visa card today? You may be forking over a little more dough than you expected.

That’s because new “checkout fees” may start popping up in 40 states today as the result of concessions made by the two major networks in their $7.2 billion swipe fee settlement with retailers last November. As part of the agreement, merchants who accept MasterCard or Visa payments can charge a checkout fee up to the equivalent amount they must pay to process the card payment. In most cases, that ranges between 1.4 and 4 percent, notes BankCreditNews.com.

Due to different state laws, merchants will be forbidden from charging the fees in 10 states, several of which are among the leaders in population. Those states are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.

Charging the checkout fee is completely optional, and there’s reason to believe many merchants will opt not to do so. Retailers will have to post notices of the fee increase at the point of entry, time of purchase and on the receipt, and customer backlash is a real possibility. That being said, the ability to charge the checkout fee is one of the few victories merchants feel they achieved through the settlement, which has been roundly panned by many on the retail side of the industry.

Consumers will have to take a wait-and-see approach to determine if their local merchants will take advantage of the checkout fee, and whether such businesses do will likely be contingent upon what the competition does in many areas.

What do you think? If you live in a state where the fees are applicable, would you change your spending habits if faced with the fee? Would you shy away from using your card as often? Let us know in the comments below.

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