Visa MasterCard Surcharging Rules Effective January 27 2013

  • All merchants who elect to charge a surcharge to a customer’s payment card transaction must register with Visa and MasterCard. Registration must occur 30 days prior to implementation of surcharging.
  • Surcharges can only be applied on credit (not debit or pre-paid cards) card transactions.
  • Surcharges must be charged at the brand level (i.e., same surcharge to all Visa and/or MasterCard credit card transactions), or at the product level (i.e. same surcharge to credit card transactions of similar product type, e.g., Visa Signature card, MasterCard World card, etc.). All merchants will need to identify what type of surcharging they will do at the time of their registration.
  • Merchant surcharges must not be higher than the cost of card acceptance.
  • A clear disclosure notice of any surcharge must be posted for customers at the store entry and at the merchant’s Point-of-Sale (POS).
  • Surcharge notices cannot disparage any card brand, card network, card issuing bank or payment card product being used.
  • The dollar amount of the surcharge must be clearly disclosed as a separate line item on the transaction receipt provided by the merchant to the customer.
  • Currently New York, California, Texas, Florida, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and Maine currently have state laws that prohibit merchants from surcharging consumers. These state laws will take precedence over card brand rules.
  • The ability to collect a surcharge may be impacted by the surcharge rules of other payment types accepted. The merchant may only surcharge an accepted credit card in the same way in which the merchant would be allowed to surcharge another payment card product which it could accept.