It could soon cost you more to shop with a credit card at some stores. As of this Sunday, Jan. 27, merchants who accept credit cards issued by Visa and MasterCard will be allowed to add a service charge to the purchase price.
Visa and MasterCard had always prohibited merchants from doing this. They agreed to change the rules and allow the surcharge as part of the settlement of an antitrust suit brought by retailers.
The surcharge is supposed to equal the actual cost of processing the credit card transaction, which is typically 1.5 to 3 percent. Under the agreement, the fee is capped at 4 percent. The surcharge can vary based on the type of card. For example, it could be higher for a rewards card or premier card.
Merchants still cannot add a surcharge to debit card transactions.