Card Users Are Paying Illegal Credit Card Processing Fees Every Day and Don't Know It According to New Report

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Checking account fees were last year’s nuisance, but personal finance website find consumers should be focused on another fee-related injustice. In a new article, examines the laws surrounding credit card processing fees and credit card minimums across multiple states, finding merchants often impose prohibited fees on consumers who choose plastic over cash.

Credit Card Minimum

Credit Card Minimum

The bottom line is that it isn't right for business owners to impose the cost of doing business on their customers…but it's up to their customers to call them out.

Plastic is undoubtedly a popular method of payment for Americans. According to data compiled by Card Explorer, 70 percent of people have a general-purpose credit card, with the median number of cards at two. Additionally, there were 37.9 billion debit card transactions in 2009, which represented $1.4 trillion in value. However, a new report finds many consumers who pay with a card at gas stations and convenience stores are being unlawfully charged credit card processing fees and minimums by merchants.

The publication details the ongoing battle between credit issuers Visa and MasterCard, as well as banks, against merchants over interchange fees, and ultimately uncovers that merchants may now legally pass on credit card transaction costs to customers in 40 states. However, findings also reveal that merchants can only charge credit card patrons the processing fee, not debit card users.

Even so, as managing editor, Casey Bond, explains, "My local Arco in Los Angeles, California, for example, is just one of the many establishments that imposes a fee to swipe plastic, despite the practice being outlawed in the state."

Further, Amad Ebrahimi of tells that ten states still prohibit these surcharges entirely, even for credit card use (which include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas), though "the laws are grey in that area, and vary on a state by state basis."

Similar laws exist regarding credit card minimums, as debit card holders may not be to subject to a required minimum purchase in order to pay by card – another rule that is often ignored by merchants.

Ms. Bond states, “The bottom line is that it isn't right for business owners to impose the cost of doing business on their customers…but it's up to their customers to call them out.”

See the full investigative report.

For questions about this guide or to speak with Casey Bond, please use the contact information below.

About is a national website dedicated to connecting readers with the best interest rates on financial services nationwide, as well as informative personal finance content, news and tools. collects interest rate information from more than 4,000 U.S. banks and credit unions, making it the only online rates aggregator with the ability to provide the most comprehensive and authentic local interest rate information.


Jaime Catmull, Director of Public Relations
310.297.9233 x261


Source: Card Explorer, Credit Card and Debit Card Usage and Statistics, April 2012.

(Photo Credit: Clotee Pridgen Allochuku via Flickr Creative Commons)

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