Did You Know Credit Card Surcharges In Florida Are NO LONGER Prohibited?
Major changes to the interpretation of freedom of speech now make it possible for merchants to recoup processing costs via surcharging.
Although merchants in most states are permitted to add credit card surcharges (but not debit cards or gift cards), Florida law specifically prohibits a surcharge.
State of Florida Statute: Credit Card Surcharges
Updated 2019: The Courts are no longer hearing cases regarding this statute.
501.0117 Florida Statutes, states, in part: “(1)…A seller or lessor in a sales or lease transaction may not impose a surcharge on the buyer or lessee for electing to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means, if the seller or lessor accepts payment by credit card…”. The statute further states that: “…(2) A person who violates the provisions of subsection (1) is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.”
In addition, violation of this Florida law could also place the merchant in jeopardy of losing credit card acceptance privileges at their place of business.
SURCHARGE OR CONVENIENCE FEE – What is the difference?
SURCHARGE: An extra sum of money a merchant chooses to add to the purchase price when a customer uses a credit card. This is added to offset the processing fee imposed on the merchant by the credit card company for each transaction. The fee could range from 1.5% – 5%.
SOLUTION: If you are in Florida or one of the other states prohibiting a surcharge, consider offering your credit card customers a discount to pay in cash
States where adding a surcharge is illegal: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Some of these states are contesting the restriction of credit card surcharges, so KEEP INFORMED.
CONVENIENCE FEE: This is a fixed charge added to a purchase price when an alternative payment method is offered. Examples would be paying online or by phone using a credit card. An example if a business allows a customer to pay an invoice online, you are paying the convenience fee for the privilege of being able to pay online. Each card company may have different guidelines, so you must know these requirements.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Stay abreast of changes in this realm, things can always change. Read and know your contract provisions with each card network concerning Surcharges and Convenience Fees. KNOW YOUR STATE LAW, as it can differ from your card network requirements, and the state law dictates.
If you ever have questions regarding processing, fees, or charges on your business statement Card Systems can help. Whether you have general questions or are looking for alternative processing contact us today @ 866.207.3298 or by email.