Visa & MasterCard class action settlement includes merchant surcharge

In November 2012, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York preliminarily approved a proposed settlement agreement in the In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation. As part of the merchant class action settlement, beginning January 27, 2013, merchants in the United States and U.S. Territories will be permitted to impose a checkout fee on consumers when they use a credit card.

Key elements:

  • Merchants who choose to surcharge must notify MasterCardnotify Visa and notify their acquirer 30 days prior to beginning to surcharge.
  • Brand Surcharges (Visa, MasterCard) cannot exceed the lesser of the maximum amount of 4% of the underlying transaction, or the average effective merchant discount rate**.
  • Product Surcharges ( Rewards, Purchasing etc)  must not be more than the merchant’s cost to accept the particular credit product, minus the Durbin Amendment’s cap on debit interchange fees.
  • Must be able to apply the same surcharge rules to competitive networks, where allowed by law
  • DETAILS ARE IMPORTANT, including receipt requirements- Please read all the official rules, see links below.
  • Debit transactions are protected under the Durbin Amendment of the Dodd-Frank Act, 2011 and may not be surcharged.

States With No Surcharge Laws*
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Florida
Kansas
Maine
Massachusetts
New York
Oklahoma
Texas

*Source: Visa.com 1/13/2013

** We assume that they mean the average effective credit card processing rate, not the average effective merchant discount rate, which is only the portion of fee over and above actual interchange fees paid.

Visa surcharge rules

MasterCard Surcharge Rules

Discover was not part of the litigation, and lifted it’s no surcharge rule in 2012. With all the rules above, if a merchant chooses to surcharge customers, they will need technology to ensure all the rules are complied with. CenPOS is a rules based payment processing network, including payment gateway,  that works with all major credit card processors. If interested in surcharging, please contact Christine Speedy.

About CenPOS “Creating efficiencies through payment innovation”
Founded in 2009, Miami-based CenPOS is a SaaS payment technology provider. CenPOS is an intelligent payment processing network that streamlines the payment experience for businesses and consumers by using state-of-the-art technology to replace inefficient, outdated payment systems. Global Sales: Christine Speedy (954) 942-0483.