Can stores add a surcharge for using a credit card?

I thought I read years ago that they aren’t allowed to do that, but today I’m picking up some parts at a Jeep dealer and on the counter is a sign saying 3% added to all charges made by credit card.

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Credit card surcharges are legal unless prohibited by State law (in CA, CO, CT, FL, KA, ME, MS, NY, OK, TX) . The networks make them register the surcharge as such during the transaction, they also have to advertise it at the point of sale and online and show the surcharge separately on the invoice as well. They can even differentiate per network (product surcharges) but they cannot apply surcharge to debit card transactions.

In States where it’s prohibited, they’ll just call it a cash/debit card discount.


I remember several years ago when using a travel agent to book a tour. I had searched through 5-6 travel books until I found the perfect tour.

Times have changed now where a person can find a desirable tour and book it on your own. At that time you had to go through a travel agent. So I made an appointment with an agency. Told him what book and the tour number I desired. I would book the tour now and pay with my credit card.

Problem, he would need to add a fee for using a credit card. I refused and walked away.

Not according to VISA or in my state, MD.

Is a merchant allowed to add a surcharge to the purchase amount for using a Visa card?
Surcharging isn’t allowed everywhere in the U.S. Currently, there are laws prohibiting or limiting surcharging in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas.

So it’s against the law in some states, and against the Visa (and probably Mastercard, at least) agreement everywhere. Right?

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Visa, MC etc. allow it now with some rules/guidelines:


And even if they didn’t …

I don’t think you read that statement correctly. They’re saying surcharging is not “allowed everywhere” which is not syntactically equivalent to disallowed anywhere. Which is why they highlight the 10 states in which it’s specifically prohibited. In all other states, surcharging is legal.

MD-specific law about surcharging

My state is listed among the states that added surcharge is not allowed.

I don’t think there is a real difference between a Visa cc’d and a MasterCard. I noticed the surcharging issue mentioned the Visa card particularly.

I use a MasterCard when shopping most of the time. Concerning this issue, I think multiple times I have been offered a lower price by not using my credit card. The offer is usually connected to a very high priced item. But the salesman (person) mentioned that they (the store) are changed a percentage for using a credit card.

In this case they are telling me that I get a cheaper price by paying cash…

So I would say that this is the same as a surcharge for using a credit card. :wink:

Because you live in one of those 10 states, it has to be worded as a “cash discount” vs. a credit surcharge. Just a way to get around the law.


Since you live in one of those states, I’m wondering if the price of gasoline was different based on the way that you paid? I recall many stations’ price/gallon dependant upon your method of payment.

Today, I see that repeated but usually the cheap price is for using their $&*^% app.