Credit card surcharges could cost consumers

6:02 AM, Apr 2, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Credit card companies will tell you they're opposed to it, but a new surcharge rule could end up costing some consumers.

"The new rule went into effect saying stores can charge a surcharge to customers," said BBB's Dan Hendrickson.

As part of an antitrust settlement, businesses now have the option of adding a surcharge to your bill when paid with a credit card. Essentially it allows businesses like gas stations to recoup costs associated with smaller transactions.

Businesses are charged when people use their credit cards, which can tap into a business' profits.
The surcharge can equal up to the actual cost of processing that credit card transaction. That's typically one and half to three percent and the fee is capped at four percent.

So far, major companies like the Targets and Wal-Marts of the world have not climbed on board, but the Better Business Bureau still warns consumers to check a store's policy before check out.

"We're just telling consumers to kind of have it on their radar and let them know if they go into a given store, especially maybe a mom and pop or a smaller type store it is a possibility the surcharge will apply," Hendrickson said. "But a sign has to be posted very conspicuously at the checkout and it should be very clear what the surcharge is for and what the percentage is."

The surcharge only involves credit card transactions. If you purchase with your debit card and punch in a pin, a surcharge cannot be added.

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