When a business wants to utilize credit card processing surcharging, they need to keep a few things in mind. There are rules a business must follow when surcharging and if not followed, a business risks having their ability to accept credit cards taken away forever.

First a business has to be in a state that allows surcharging as not all states allow this practice. These following states do not allow businesses to surcharge their customers for using credit cards:

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas

Next, if a business wants to surcharge they may not accept American Express. AMEX is unable to distinguish between debit/credit and pre-paid cards. Due to the “level playing field” rule, merchants who wish to utilize surcharging may not accept AMEX.

Surcharges must be added to all card brands.

Businesses may not surcharge debit or pre-paid cards. A merchant’s terminal must be able to distinguish these types of cards. If the terminal is unable to distinguish credit cards from debit/pre-paid cards, the merchant is prohibited from Surcharging.

Immediate discounts must be applied for all cash, check, debit and pre-paid cards.

Price advertised/displayed must reflect the standard price (i.e. the credit card price.) A surcharge may only be added at check out if a customer provides a credit card for payment. Debit and Pre-Paid Cards can not be surcharged.

Before adding surcharge pricing, the merchant must provide a minimum of 30 days’ notice in advance of adding the surcharging to their prices. This needs to be displayed at each payment stations well as other locations within the business.

After posting the notice, a merchant must have signage announcing a Surcharge will be applied on all products/services rendered.

The surcharge fee must be disclosed on every receipt.

The surcharge fee may not exceed 4%

As you have read there are a lot of rules a merchant must be aware of before deciding to add a surcharge to their goods and services. While surcharging looks like a great way to minimize the costs of accept credit cards, it may not be the best thing for your business when looking at your competition. Raising your price on goods and services could lead to customer loss. Something all businesses should seriously look at when considering surcharging.

Businesses also have to make sure that the equipment and or software they are using for credit card sales has the ability to add Surcharging and a way to lower the price when cash is presented as a payment.

As always when in doubt, call us at Accept Credit Cards and we can help answer all of your questions.


Phone:  800.476.5020 opt. 1 (Sales)