Swipe-Fee Battle Moves to States as U.S. Banks Fight Surcharges

July 9, 2013
credit card news

Banks and payment networks are calling on state lawmakers to prevent retailers from imposing surcharges for customers who pay with credit cards instead of debit cards or cash. Surcharges already are banned in Utah, and a similar law may soon be passed in New Jersey. The payments industry and retailers have long fought over "swipe" fees for debit and credit cards, with retailers typically having to pay banks more when customers use credit cards. A January class-action settlement against Visa, MasterCard, and a group of banks opens the door to surcharges in states without laws that prevent them, but lawmakers in many states have proposed anti-surcharge bills as a means of protecting consumers from what they call unfair fees. In states where surcharges are prohibited, federal law allows retailers to offer discounts for debit or cash transactions, though retailers argue that discounts and surcharges are essentially the same thing.
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