Can a merchant charge extra for accepting credit cards?

No, the average merchant cannot charge extra for accepting credit cards. This is clearly stated in merchant agreements and the individual Operating Guidelines of  Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.  However, certain merchants can charge a convenience fee for accepting credit cards if that is not their normal business procedure. Typically we see this with government controlled utilities such as a water bill. The convenience fee amount is frequently regulated by state law.

Merchants should calculate their credit card processing effective rate and use that to determine overall product mark-up needed to cover their costs. There two other ways to control costs.

  • Setting an acceptable minimum credit card charge.
  • Offering a discount by steering consumers to use specific card types, for example, debit.

Reference articles:

Is there a way to automatically discount for debit cards?
MasterCard and Discover minimum maximum transaction limits
Visa, MasterCard minimum transaction limit changes