Consumer advocates are reminding shoppers to look out for merchants that impose credit card surcharges.
Merchants must meet certain requirements if they impose a surcharge on credit card purchases:
• Retailers must post a notice at the entrance of their stores and at the point of sale.
• The retailer has to disclose the surcharge percentage and explain the fact that the charge is being imposed by the retailer (not the credit card company) and does not exceed the amount the retailer pays to accept credit cards.
• Receipts need to show the dollar amount of the surcharge.
• Online merchants must alert consumers that a surcharge will be imposed on the webpage where credit cards are first mentioned.
“The rule of thumb is this – you can’t gouge your customers, and you can’t hide the fees,” said Trish Wexler, spokeswoman for the Electronic Payments Coalition, which represents banking and financial institutions, including Visa and MasterCard.