Surcharge Rules

Nothing set forth herein shall be construed as legal advice or commentary, and any information related to local, state or federal laws or regulations is for informational purposes only and shall not be reviewed or updated at any time.  Merchants are encouraged to seek professional legal advice before engaging in any actions related to surcharging or any related practice.

In November 2012, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York preliminarily approved a proposed settlement agreement in the In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation. As part of this settlement, Visa and MasterCard are required to implement certain Operating Regulation rule changes, including the ability for merchants in the U.S. and U.S. territories to surcharge certain credit card transactions beginning January 27, 2013. Please see the attached notices to merchants from Visa and MasterCard.

Click here for Visa Merchant Notice

Click here for MasterCard Merchant Notice

Merchants who choose to surcharge once the rule changes take place will be required to follow certain requirements, including disclosure of surcharge practices to customers at the store entry point and at the point of sale. The following information and resources are available to assist merchants who opt to surcharge in preparing for these changes:

State Legislation

This settlement does not supersede existing state legislation which prohibits a merchant from imposing a surcharge.  Merchants are responsible for maintaining compliance with any federal and state regulations.  We have been informed that the following states are currently prohibiting surcharging:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas

Registration is Required

Merchants are required to notify Visa, MasterCard, and Axia Payments 30 days prior to implementing a surcharge.  Please register with Visa by going to https://usa.visa.com/merchantsurchargenotification/inquiry.do and completing their registration form. Please register with MasterCard by going to http://www.mastercard.us/merchants/support/surcharge-disclosure.html and completing their registration form.  You can notify Axia Payments by emailing support@axiapayments.com and include your DBA, MID, and date you plan to start imposing the surcharge.  We may follow up and require proof that all requirements below are being met.

Card Restrictions

Surcharging is limited to Credit Cards only.  Check Debit and Prepaid products cannot be surcharged.

Disclosure Requirements

Signs disclosing the surcharge must be provided at the point of entry and point of sale.  Itemization of the final surcharge amount must be identified separately on the transaction receipt.

Surcharge Amount Limits and Rules

Surcharges must be standardized across all credit card types so that a non Visa branded card has the same surcharge structure – either a flat fee across all card types or one based on the cost of the individual card and product type.  Surcharges must be limited to the cost of acceptance and cannot in any circumstances exceed 4% of the transaction amount.

For more information about Visa’s policies please visit Visa’s website at www.visa.com/merchantsurcharging for more information, including sample disclosures and FAQs.