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What is a surcharge?

A surcharge is an additional fee added to the total of the items the consumer is purchasing to cover the cost of the credit card transaction, this is also known as a “Checkout Fee.”

What do I need to do in order to surcharge?

    Register with Visa, MasterCard & Discover

    Notify your processor and make sure they allow surcharging

    Know the surcharging rules

    Know if your State allows for surcharging

Do I need to register with American Express to surcharge?

No. American Express does not require a registration form.

Can I surcharge a debit or a pre-paid card?

No. Credit Cards are the only cards that can be surcharged.

Can I surcharge a debit card if I run it as a credit card?

No. A debit run as a “credit” is still a debit card.

Can I accept Debit if I surcharge?

Yes. If you want to accept debit cards then the standard rules for processing apply, the merchant will cover the cost of a debit card transaction, which carry the lowest transactions fees in the Interchange table.  However, if you choose to accept Debit you will not be able to accept American Express since American Express does not offer a debit card, this is the only way to “level the playfield.”

Is there a limit to how much I can surcharge?

Yes. Your surcharge cannot exceed your cost of acceptance or 4%.

Do I have to tell my customers I am surcharging?

Yes, if you are surcharging you have to tell your customers before you complete the sale. You also    have to have signs up and disclose the surcharge clearly on the receipt.

Can anyone in the U.S. surcharge?

No. There are 8 states that prohibit surcharging. Non-surcharging states are Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.

What if the customer is from a non-surcharging state?

If a customer pays for a product in a surcharging approved state and the card is registered to a non-surcharging state, the merchant will pay for the transaction.  For example, if you live in Colorado but travel to Montana on vacation and purchase a souvenir while in Yellowstone National Park (for this example, pretending that they surcharge at the Old Faithful Lodge Gift Shop), the gift shop would pay for the transaction.

Is a "Surcharge" or "Checkout Fee" the same as a "Convenience Fee"?

No. A Convenience Fee is a fee that is added to your bill for the convenience of paying in a way that is not standard for the merchant. Movie theaters for example, generally sell tickets face-to-face at the theater but if you purchase your tickets online there may be an additional Convenience Fee.

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