There are some establishments in the Turks and Caicos Islands that are charging customers a surcharge when using their credit cards. Some of these surcharges range from 3% to 4%. You see when someone uses a credit card at a merchant, the merchant is charged a fee by visa, master and American express. Some merchants do not want to incur those charges so they charge the customers a fee for using their credit cards.
In the USA with the exception of ten 10 states it is legal to charge surcharges. However, recently the ban was lifted in 6 states due to court cases and now it is only illegal in 4 states (Kansas, Colorado, Massachusetts and Puerto Rico) to charge surcharges.
According to the banks in the Turks and Caicos Islands, it is not legal for merchants to charge customers a surcharge as the merchants have an agreement with the banks not to charge fees or additional charge when a credit card is used. Furthermore, merchants are not required to have a minimum or maximum amount before they accept a credit card from a customer for a purchase.
What is a surcharge?
A surcharge is the additional fee that merchants charge to customers. For example, if you purchase something that cost $1000 and the merchant’s surcharge is 4%, you will end up paying $1,040. The $40 represents the surcharge for using your credit card.
Some merchants also have a policy in place whereby customers cannot use their credit cards unless it above a certain amount. The truth is no matter what the amount of the purchase is, visa, master and American Express charges the merchant a percentage of the charge therefore to me it does not make sense to set minimum payments.
The use of credit cards
Whether we like it or not, most people are using a credit card nowadays. Due to security reasons and convenience, people do not keep a lot of cash on them. The use of credit cards stimulates businesses. Because businesses are aware of this, they promote the use of credit cards and even distribute their own credit cards such as JC Penny.
Therefore, if some businesses do not accept credit cards, they lose the opportunity of additional revenue.
- Businesses and individuals need to price their products and services in such a way that the fees that they are charged by the credit card companies are already reflected in their price. It is unfair to charge a cash paying customer a different fee from a credit card paying customer. They are getting the same product and it should not matter how they pay for it.
- Businesses should not take credit cards if they are going to charge customers a surcharge because it is a violation of their agreements with the banks.
I know there may be some concerns that this article may hurt some of the businesses that are charging surcharges but it is wrong. There are some businesses who are doing the right thing and if some businesses can do it, then others should follow suit.
An opportunity to increase your income can be done by accepting credit cards. I encountered a few establishments who wanted to charge me a surcharge. I decided not to do business with those establishments and take my business elsewhere.
Now if there were laws in place that it was legal to charge surcharges like most states do, then this would not be an issue.