In the state of Florida, no. For other states, please review rules and regulations. Surcharges and convenience fees fall under card acceptance (Visa, Mastercard etc) rules, as well as legislative, such as state statutes.
What is a Surcharge? A payment card surcharge is a fee that a retailer adds to the cost of a purchase when a customer uses a payment card. It must be disclosed in advance and listed separately on the receipt. Surcharges are newly possible in 2013 due to a recent Visa & MasterCard class action settlement, however, not only do a number of states prohibit surcharging, as a result of the new rule, many more states are working feverishly to establish laws to prohibit surcharging.
What is a convenience fee? A credit card handling fee or convenience fee is a fixed or flat amount added to the transaction using an alternative payment channel outside the Merchant’s customary payment channels (example, i.e., not solely for the acceptance of the Visa Card). The amount must apply to all payment methods offered via that channel. Basically you’re not paying a fee for using the card, you’re paying a fee for using the payment channel, such as over the phone.
Can I discount based on payment type? Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act merchants were given new flexibilty to steer customers to lower cost payment methods, For example, a 1% discount could be extended for using debit cards. Merchants are prohbited from steering to a specific card brand.
Visa Merchant Surcharging (link to Visa web site)
Author, Christine Speedy notes: To reduce credit card processing fees in the law practice:
- Use technology that automates interchange optimization. In short, your fees are lower because transactions are ‘qualified’.
- Ensure your merchant account supports level 3 data, required for the lowest qualified interchange rates for corporate and purchasing cards.
- Get a merchant account with ‘pass through’ interchange fees. This enables the firm to take maximum advantage of both items above, including reduced rates for large ticket transactions.