As part of the Merchant Class Action Litigation Settlement, Visa and MasterCard will make changes to their merchant acceptance practices.
Visa and MasterCard will change their rules effective January 27, 2013 pertaining to the surcharging of credit transactions at the point of sale. Please review the detailed communications on surcharging in their entirety at www.mastercardmerchant.com and www.visa.com/merchantsurcharging.
In summary, and subject to any limitations identified on the above websites or in the upcoming rules changes, U.S. merchants may surcharge Visa and MasterCard credit card transactions (not debit or pre-paid card transactions) at the brand level or the product level, but not both, with the following conditions: (1) surcharges cannot exceed certain levels (generally the gross merchant discount rate also known as myrealrate); (2) merchants that accept cards of other payment network brands (i.e., American Express, Discover) are subject to competitive “level playing field” limitations; and (3) merchants must satisfy notification and disclosure requirements to both the payment card network and the merchant’s acquirer at least 30 days prior to surcharging. In addition, a U.S. merchant that surcharges must provide clear disclosure to the merchant’s customers at the point of interaction.
For additional information including a list of the states that prohibit surcharging, please visit: http://blog.vantagecard.com/post/Payment-Card-Usage-Surcharges.aspx.