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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

New Credit Card 'Checkout Fee' Arrives This Weekend

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By Matt Brownell

Posted 6:00AM 01/24/13 Posted under: Credit Cards, Shopping, Consumer Protection
Credit Card Checkout Fee SurchargeThis Sunday marks the first day that consumers could start paying an extra fee just for using their credit card to make purchases. But don't panic: It's unlikely to kick in right away, especially at the biggest retailers.

First, a bit of background. The fee in question is widely described as a "checkout fee," and starting on Jan. 27, retailers will have the option of charging it on any purchase made with a credit card. The fee came about as a result of a settlement reached in July 2012 between merchants and credit card networks, and is intended to help defray the costs of the swipe fees charged by those networks. As such, it can't be higher than what the merchant actually pays as a swipe fee -- usually between 1.5% and 3% of the transaction.

The settlement was actually merchants' second swipe-fee victory in recent years. The first came in the form of the Durbin Amendment, which capped swipe fees on debit card purchases at 21 cents per transaction. The July settlement didn't cap swipe fees on credit cards, but it did give retailers the right to pass them on to consumers -- if they choose to.

"I don't think we're going to see a mass amount of surcharges come the deadline," said Ruth Susswein of Consumer Action, which has led the charge in educating consumers about the impending fee. Retailers, she says, are more likely to introduce the fee gradually. "It might creep into costs of shopping over time."

Indeed, it's still unclear whether the nation's larger merchants actually plan to take advantage of their new right to add surcharges.

"I would be very surprised if Walmart or Costco or Target or any of the other mega-discount retailers did something like this," said John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for SmartCredit.com. "Their pitch is, 'Hey we're cheaper than the competition.'" Ulzheimer added that if a big retailer was considering charging the checkout fees, they would start out by testing them in a few select markets to see how consumers responded.

So if you do see checkout fees, it's more likely to be at smaller retailers, which tend not to be winning on price anyway. In fact, Ulzheimer noted, you've probably already seen small merchants charge a form of credit card checkout fee in the past, by offering lower prices to customers paying with cash -- for instance, at a gas station. Now that they're allowed to call the credit card surcharge what it is, more small merchants will try out variable pricing.

Tens of millions of customers will never see checkout fees, though. That's because 10 states have formally banned the practice, a list that includes California, New York, Florida and Texas.

If you don't live in one of those 10 states, though, you could potentially see signs alerting you about checkout fees as early as this Sunday. If you do, you can avoid them by paying with cash or a debit card -- or by taking your business elsewhere.
by on Jan. 24, 2013 at 9:24 PM
Replies (11-20):
annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 9:43 PM

 

I am not that good in financial planning LOL

Quoting turtle68:

 why is it better than a debit card?  I pay a flat accounting fee each month and if I press the credit button on the eftpos absolutely no fee charged.  I can buy online like its a credit card but with my money...cant use cash  I can imprint for hotels and car rentals just like a credit card...but cant use cash.

Debit cards are the bomb LOL

Quoting annabl1970:

 

 Cash is better.  It could be quite uncomfortable for large purchases though :)

Quoting turtle68:

 so in other words instead of the retailer paying the fee...the consumer should.

instead of the consumer paying fees on top of that to the credit card people..they will pay that AND the fee at the checkout.

That seems really nice that those two came to this conclusion...well done *insert eye roll*

People ...cut up the credit card and get a debit card.

 

 

 


 

UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 10:45 PM
But something you could easily change if the fee mattered and you were so inclined.


Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

I never have cash

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Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Jan. 24, 2013 at 10:51 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting UpSheRises:

But something you could easily change if the fee mattered and you were so inclined.


Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

I never have cash

I actually gave myself a budget and used strictly cash for xmas shopping for extended family. I ended up with money left over. For some reason going to the bank, the post office and the library makes me wanna procrastinate.

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 11:45 PM
3 moms liked this

Charge me to use my card and I will write you a check and slow down your line.

Or I will bring cash and count it out very slowly. 

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 11:46 PM
1 mom liked this

 

I prefer cash.  Sometimes they act like they've never seen any before. 

Quoting annabl1970:

 

Cash is the best:)

Quoting UpSheRises:

Cash is a fine option for most purchases.

 

 


 

frogbender
by Captain Underpants on Jan. 24, 2013 at 11:50 PM

Good thing I don't have a credit card. Those things creep me out with all their hidden fees. I'd rather earn credit other ways and not be in debt.

OHgirlinCA
by Platinum Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 11:57 PM
I'm glad this won't affect California.
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canadianmom1974
by Gold Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 12:45 AM
Most places here don't accept cheques. And I have no problem with my customers taking a long time counting their cash, it gives me a quick break.

But it's also good to know that you'll take your upset out on the front line worker who has no say in store policy about fees and charges.


Quoting TranquilMind:

Charge me to use my card and I will write you a check and slow down your line.


Or I will bring cash and count it out very slowly. 

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 12:47 AM

 Eh, I probably wouldn't do it.  I'd just think about it.  Everywhere here accepts - but discourages -checks, and if I can pay by check with no fee, I would do it if I was forced to shop at that store. 

I would probably just stop shopping there altogether, unless there are no options.  Junk fees drive me away.


Quoting canadianmom1974:

Most places here don't accept cheques. And I have no problem with my customers taking a long time counting their cash, it gives me a quick break.

But it's also good to know that you'll take your upset out on the front line worker who has no say in store policy about fees and charges.


Quoting TranquilMind:

Charge me to use my card and I will write you a check and slow down your line.


Or I will bring cash and count it out very slowly. 


 

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 12:48 AM

 I have but don't use a credit card.  I was thinking more about debit cards, whether you would be penalized for using those that simply take cash right out of your own account.


Quoting frogbender:

Good thing I don't have a credit card. Those things creep me out with all their hidden fees. I'd rather earn credit other ways and not be in debt.


 

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