Following a recent court settlement between U.S. merchants and the payment industry, effective January 27, 2013 merchants in certain states, including New Hampshire, are now permitted to charge an additional checkout fee when purchases are made using a Mastercard or Visa credit card. Merchants are also entitled to impose up to a $10 minimum transaction amount for Mastercard or Visa credit card purchases. Though this change does not allow fees to be charged or minimum transaction amounts to be imposed on transactions made using debit cards, we believe it’s important that you know how this change might impact your credit card purchases.
Except for in states where fees are prohibited, merchants are allowed to charge a fee equivalent to what they pay to accept the credit or charge card for payment. In the U.S. this amount is typically between 1.5% and 3% of the total purchase and the fee may not exceed 4% of the total purchase. Merchants that choose to impose a fee for Visa or Mastercard credit card transactions must clearly post their intent to surcharge at their point of entry, point of sale and on the customer’s receipt. Fees can not be assessed for purchases made with debit cards or pre-paid cards regardless of whether or not the transaction is processed as debit (PIN) or credit (signature).
To ensure that Mastercard and Visa credit card customers fully understand these changes, they have each created informational websites that include answers to frequently asked questions. Should you believe that you have been improperly charged by a merchant or that the fee you were assessed was higher than permitted, you may also visit this website to report potential fee violations: Visa Merchant Surcharge Information for Consumers
At Meredith Village Savings Bank, we strive to keep our customers informed about latest changes in financial rules and regulations. If you have any questions about these changes or if there is any way we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact a Branch Services Representative at 800.922.6872 or to contact us online using the Quick Help feature on our website.