Previously in this blog, we discussed a proposed settlement in the class-action suit brought against MasterCard and Visa from thousands of merchants in the U.S. One of the conditions under that proposal would allow for businesses to charge consumers additional fees for making purchases with credit cards in order to offset high processing and additional fees.
We, along with other news outlets, noted that such fees being charged by most merchants was unlikely, and that having the ability to do so – in states that do not ban the practice, anyway – would probably just be used as leverage to get better rates from the credit card companies.
However, some business owners may choose to take advantage of this option to charge customers more, even though they may not want to. According to an article in The News & Observer, the Personal Defense & Handgun Safety Center in Raleigh, North Carolina used to charge a 3 percent fee for using credit cards. However, owner Mike Tilley received a letter from Visa at the time that he could not penalize customers for using credit cards and must cease and desist this practice.
Tilley told the news source that when he opened his doors in 1996, less than 20 percent of the business was done through credit cards. Fast forward almost 20 years later and that number is up to 90 percent. That’s a massive increase in fees paid out.
If the anti-trust settlement is approved, he may be able to resume his previous practice. However, there are other ways that merchants can attempt to offset the fees charged by banks, credit card companies and card processors.
By using point of sale credit card processing software that comes with a one-time fee, no additional or hidden charges, and can easily work with any processor or Independent Sales Organization, business owners can immediately reduce the amount they pay in fees and then look for the best deals among other vendors. Doing so can help them to avoid having to charge additional fees to their customers, as well.