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Merchant Surcharge
Program

Merchant Surcharge Program Guidelines: What Merchants Need to Know

With the Merchant Surcharge Program, merchants can add a fixed 3% fee to their consumers’ credit card transactions at checkout to help cover their processing costs.

You now have the option to pass along your credit card processing costs to your customers with the Merchant Surcharge Program. This can be a way for merchants to offset the cost of accepting credit cards, which can be high for some businesses.

However, there are some guidelines that merchants must follow when implementing a surcharge. These guidelines are in place to protect consumers and ensure that merchants are complying with all applicable laws.

Merchant Surcharge Program Guidelines:

  • Merchants must disclose the surcharge to customers in advance of the transaction. This can be done by posting signage at the point of entry and point of sale, and by including the surcharge amount on the sales receipt.

  • The surcharge must be applied equally to all credit card transactions, regardless of the card type.

  • Merchants cannot surcharge debit card transactions.

  • Merchants cannot surcharge cash transactions.

Additional Guidelines:

  • Merchants must notify Visa and their acquirer of their intent to surcharge at least 30 days prior to implementing surcharging.

  • Merchants must comply with all applicable state and local laws regarding surcharging. Some states have restrictions on surcharging, such as limiting the amount of the surcharge or prohibiting surcharging on certain types of transactions.

If you are considering implementing a surcharge, there are a few things you need to do to ensure that you are complying with all of the guidelines:

  1. Calculate the amount of the surcharge. You can use a surcharge calculator to determine the amount of the surcharge that will cover your credit card processing costs.

  2. Decide how you will disclose the surcharge to customers. You can post signage at the point of entry and point of sale, and include the surcharge amount on the sales receipt.

  3. Notify Visa and your acquirer of your intent to surcharge. You can do this by contacting Visa directly or through your acquirer.

  4. Comply with all applicable state and local laws regarding surcharging. You can research your state’s laws on surcharging online or by contacting your state’s attorney general’s office.

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