Merchants have a lot to consider when they set up a credit card POS system, and one particular issue could be the matter of surcharges for card-based payments. While this practice is common in some areas, it is contentious in others, as can be seen in a recent development in the Missouri State Senate. If passed, Senate Bill No. 354 could not only prevent sellers from issuing an additional fee for customers using a card, but see those merchants facing felony charges as well. 

The bill, posted on the Missouri General Assembly website, forbids surcharges to be made solely because a client used a credit item to make a purchase. This would include debit cards, banking cards, and other variations. In its current incarnation, the bill does allow businesses to offer incentives for not using a credit card, and does not include those charges that come under "state or federal tariffs."

According to the legislation's text, anyone deliberately instituting such a fee "shall be guilty of a class D felony."

Republican State Senator Eric Schmitt is the sponsor of the bill, which would be effective late August of this year. It is reportedly currently being reviewed by a Senate committee.

It is important for merchants, suppliers, and consumers alike to be aware of the rules governing credit purchases. Careful deliberation can help a company decide on the credit card processing program that would best allow for cost-effective performance and compliance with the law. Tighter restrictions on surcharges may seem unappealing to businesses but could potentially prove to be a benefit by enticing more customers. Whatever a merchant's opinion, it may be the best practice to select a system that most easily fits the needs of all parties in a sales situation, whatever the particular laws may be.