Thursday, July 12, 2012

Change in Credit Card Surcharging Coming?

In case you missed it, there is an article in the June 9th edition of the Wall Street Journal (you may need to be a subscriber to see it all) that can affect your entire payment card program.  The Journal reports that both Visa and MasterCard may soon allow merchants to add surcharges to payment card transactions.  Currently, both organizations ban such surcharges.  As the they report:
But Visa and MasterCard, which operate the world's largest card-payments networks, ban the practice in the U.S. as part of rules they require retailers to follow to accept their cards. That ban is expected to be eliminated or altered, though, under a potential settlement of long-standing lawsuits retailers have brought against the card networks and numerous banks that issue their cards.
Two points you should note, however:
In the U.S., 10 states, including New York and California, have laws prohibiting surcharges, according to Visa. It is unclear whether merchants in those states would be able to engage in the practice if Visa and MasterCard allow it.
A change in Visa's and MasterCard's rules also wouldn't affect purchases made with cards from American Express Co and Discover Financial Services ... aren't part of the litigation.
Naturally, nobody involved is commenting, but if the ability to surcharge plastic payments is part of the settlement, it could take place as early as this fall.  Another part of the reported settlement would be reduced interchange fees, which translates into lower costs for merchants.

Speaking of this fall and lower costs...

Could this settlement -- if it happens -- lead to increased card acceptance for tuition and fee payments?


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