Credit or Debit Card Surcharges Statutes

10/13/2016

Online PurchaseAs a result of a preliminary court settlement between retailers, payment networks and nine major credit card issuers, retailers are now allowed to start charging customers a surcharge to cover the expenses of merchant fees when customers use their credit cards to make purchases.

Eleven states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas—and Puerto Rico have laws that prohibit merchants from charging consumers with surcharges on credit card transactions. Minnesota prohibits a seller of goods or services that establishes and is responsible for its own customer credit card from imposing a surcharge on a purchaser who elects to use that credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means.

The laws in California and New York have been challenged in court. The California law was declared unconstitutional in Italian Colors Restaurant et al. v. Harris in 2015. California is appealing the district court decision. In September 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, the case challenging the New York statute that prohibits merchants from imposing a surcharge for using a credit or debit card, but does not prohibit cash discounts.

Ten states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oklahoma, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming—and Puerto Rico have laws that allow merchants to give discounts to encourage consumers to use forms of payment other than credit or debit cards.

Note:  The statutes below are provided for information purposes only. NCSL cannot and will not provide assistance or advice in individual cases or transactions. If you are a consumer or a merchant and have questions regarding credit card interest, surcharges or fees, please contact an attorney or your state attorney general.

CA | CO | CTFL | GAKSME | MD | MN | NV | NY | OK | PRTX | WA | WI | WY
 
Statutes Related to Credit of Debit Card Surcharges
STATES PROHIBITION ON CREDIT/DEBIT SURCHARGE: ALLOWS DISCOUNTS FOR CREDIT/DEBIT CARD USAGE
Alabama None None
Alaska None None
Arizona None None
Arkansas None None
California

Cal. Civil Code §1748.1

Declared unconstitutional in Italian Colors Restaurant et al. v. Harris, 99 F.Supp.3d 1199 (E.D.Cal. 2015).
(a) No retailer in any sales, service, or lease transaction with a consumer may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means. A retailer may, however, offer discounts for the purpose of inducing payment by cash, check, or other means not involving the use of a credit card, provided that the discount is offered to all prospective buyers.
 
(b) Any retailer who willfully violates this section by imposing a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card and who fails to pay that amount to the cardholder within 30 days of a written demand by the cardholder to the retailer by certified mail, shall be liable to the cardholder for three times the amount at which actual damages are assessed. The cardholder shall also be entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred in the action. A cause of action under this section may be brought in small claims court, if it does not exceed the jurisdiction of that court, or in any other appropriate court.
 
(c) A consumer shall not be deemed to have elected to use a credit card in lieu of another means of payment for purposes of this section in a transaction with a retailer if only credit cards are accepted by that retailer in payment for an order made by a consumer over a telephone, and only cash is accepted at a public store or other facility of the same retailer.
 
(d) Charges for third-party credit card guarantee services, when added to the price charged by the retailer if cash were to be paid, shall be deemed surcharges for purposes of this section even if they are payable directly to the third party or are charged separately.
 
(e) It is the intent of the Legislature to promote the effective operation of the free market and protect consumers from deceptive price increases for goods and services by prohibiting credit card surcharges and encouraging the availability of discounts by those retailers who wish to offer a lower price for goods and services purchased by some form of payment other than credit card.
 
(f) This section does not apply to charges for payment by credit card or debit card that are made by an electrical, gas, or water corporation and approved by the Public Utilities Commission pursuant to §755 of the Public Utilities Code.

Cal. Civil Code §1748
Any provision in a contract between a card issuer and a retailer which has the effect of prohibiting the retailer from offering price discounts or from charging a different and lower price to customers who pay for goods or services by cash instead of by credit card is contrary to public policy and void.
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. §5-2-212
(1) Except as otherwise provided in §§24-19.5-103 (3) and 29-11.5-103 (3), C.R.S., no seller or lessor in any sales or lease transaction or any company issuing credit or charge cards may impose a surcharge on a holder who elects to use a credit or charge card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means. A surcharge is any additional amount imposed at the time of the sales or lease transaction by the merchant, seller, or lessor that increases the charge to the buyer or lessee for the privilege of using a credit or charge card. For purposes of this section, charge card includes those cards pursuant to which unpaid balances are payable on demand.
Colo. Rev. Stat. §5-2-212
(2) A discount offered by a seller or lessor for the purpose of inducing payment by cash, check, or other means not involving the use of a seller or lender credit card shall not constitute a finance charge if such discount is offered to all prospective buyers and its availability is disclosed to all prospective buyers clearly and conspicuously in accordance with regulations of the administrator.
Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. §42-133ff
(a) No seller may impose a surcharge on a buyer who elects to use any method of payment, including, but not limited to, cash, check, credit card or electronic means, in any sales transaction.
 
(b) Any seller who accepts or offers to accept a bank credit card bearing a trade name as a means of payment shall accept any bank credit card bearing such trade name presented by a cardholder, notwithstanding the identity of the card issuer. For the purposes of this subsection, "bank credit card" means any credit card issued by a bank, savings bank, savings and loan association or credit union.
 
(d) Nothing in this section shall prohibit any seller from conditioning acceptance of a credit card on a buyer's minimum purchase. Each seller shall disclose any such minimum purchase policy orally or in writing at the point of purchase. For the purposes of this subsection, "at the point of purchase" includes, but is not limited to, at or on a cash register and in an advertisement or menu.
 
(e) No provider of travel services may impose a surcharge on or reduce the commission paid to a travel agent who acts as an agent for such provider if the buyer uses a credit card to purchase such provider's travel services. A violation of any provision of this subsection shall be deemed an unfair or deceptive trade practice under subsection (a) of §42-110b. As used in this subsection, "provider of travel services" means a person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of furnishing travel, transportation or vacation services, but does not include a travel agent, and "travel agent" means a person, firm, corporation or other entity that (1) is (A) a duly appointed agent of a common carrier, or (B) a member of a cruise line association and operates exclusively as an agent for cruise lines in the sale of cruise travel products or services, and (2) offers or sells travel, transportation or vacation arrangements as an agent for a provider of travel services, but does not include a common carrier or an employee of a common carrier.
Conn. Gen. Stat. §42-133ff
(c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit any seller from offering a discount to a buyer to induce such buyer to pay by cash, debit card, check or similar means rather than by credit card. In furtherance of the legislative findings contained in §42-133j, no existing or future contract or agreement shall prohibit a gasoline retailer or distributor from offering a discount to a buyer based upon the method of payment by such buyer for such gasoline. Any provision in such contract or agreement prohibiting such retailer or distributor from offering such discount is void and without effect as contrary to public policy.
Delaware None None
District of Columbia None None
Florida Fla. Stat. §501.0117

(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. A surcharge is any additional amount imposed at the time of a sale or lease transaction by the seller or lessor that increases the charge to the buyer or lessee for the privilege of using a credit card to make payment. Charges imposed pursuant to approved state or federal tariffs are not considered to be a surcharge, and charges made under such tariffs are exempt from this section. A convenience fee imposed upon a student or family paying tuition, fees, or other student account charges by credit card to a William L. Boyd, IV, Florida resident access grant eligible institution, as defined in §1009.89, or to a private school, as defined in §1002.01, is not considered to be a surcharge and is exempt from this section if the amount of the convenience fee does not exceed the total cost charged by the credit card company to the institution. The term “credit card” includes those cards for which unpaid balances are payable on demand. This section does not apply to the offering of a discount for the purpose of inducing payment by cash, check, or other means not involving the use of a credit card, if the discount is offered to all prospective customers.

 

(2) A person who violates the provisions of subsection (1) is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in §775.082 or §775.083.
none
Georgia

Ga. Code §13-1-15 (2015)

(a) As used in this Code section, the term: (1) "Actual cost" means the amount paid by a third party for the processing of a payment made by electronic means. If a lender or merchant is a subsidiary of an entity that processes payments made by electronic means, the parent entity shall be considered a third party. (2) "Payment by electronic means" means the remittance of an amount owed through the use of a credit card, debit card, electronic funds transfer, electronic check, or other electronic method.

 

(b) In addition to any other charges, interest, and fees permitted by law and subject to the terms and conditions of the debit card or credit card acceptance agreement, a lender or merchant may collect a nonrefundable convenience fee from any person electing to utilize an option of payment by electronic means. Such convenience fee shall be in an amount that represents the actual cost to a lender or merchant; provided, however, that in lieu of the actual cost, a lender or merchant may collect a convenience fee which does not exceed the average of the actual cost incurred for a specific type of payment made by electronic means for which such lender or merchant imposes a convenience fee.

 

(c) No convenience fee shall be charged unless a lender or merchant also provides a direct payment option by check, cash, or money order in which no convenience fee is imposed.

 

(d) Any lender or merchant imposing a convenience fee as provided for in this Code section shall provide clear disclosure of such fee prior to imposition. Such notice shall include the dollar amount of such fee, a statement that such fee is nonrefundable, and a statement that such fee is charged for payment by electronic means.

 

(e) This Code section shall apply only to industrial loans made pursuant to Chapter 3 of Title 7, retail installment and home solicitation sales contracts entered into pursuant to Article 1 of Chapter 1 of Title 10, motor vehicle sales financing contracts entered into pursuant to Article 2 of Chapter 1 of Title 10, and insurance premium finance agreements entered into pursuant to Chapter 22 of Title 33; provided, however, that a convenience fee authorized under this Code section shall not constitute interest, an additional charge, a time price differential, a finance charge, or a service charge within the meaning of Code §§7-3-15, 10-1-4, 10-1-33, or 33-22-9.

 

(f) Nothing contained in Code §7-4-18 shall be construed to amend or modify the provisions of this Code section.

None
Guam None None
Hawaii None None
Idaho None None
Illinois None None
Indiana None None
Iowa None None
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. §16a-2-403
No seller or lessor in any sales or lease transaction or any credit or debit card issuer may impose a surcharge on a card holder who elects to use a credit or debit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means. A surcharge is any additional amount imposed at the time of the sales or lease transaction by the merchant, seller or lessor that increases the charge to the buyer or lessee for the privilege of using a credit or debit card.
None
Kentucky None None
Louisiana None None
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 9-A, §8-509
1. Surcharge prohibited. A seller in a sales transaction may not impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card or debit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means. For purposes of this section, "surcharge" means any means of increasing the regular price to a cardholder that is not imposed on a customer paying by cash, check or similar means. A discount or reduction from the regular price is not a surcharge.
 
2. Surcharge permitted for governmental entity. Notwithstanding subsection 1, a governmental entity may impose a surcharge for payments made with a credit card or debit card for taxes, fines, charges, utility fees, regulatory fees, license or permit fees or the provision of a specific service provided by that governmental entity if the surcharge: A. Is disclosed clearly to the consumer prior to payment; and B. Does not exceed the costs associated with providing the credit card or debit card service that are directly incurred by the governmental entity or assessed by an authorized third-party payment service provider for a credit card or debit card transaction. If there is not a cost assessed by an authorized third-party payment service provider for a debit card transaction, the governmental entity may not impose a surcharge associated with a debit card transaction.
A governmental entity shall disclose to the consumer that the surcharge may be avoided if the consumer makes payments by cash, check or other means not a credit card or debit card. A governmental entity is not subject to any liability to the issuer of a credit card or an authorized third-party payment service provider for nonpayment of credit card charges by the consumer. As used in this subsection, "governmental entity" includes, but is not limited to, a county established or governed by Title 30-A, Part 1, a municipality as defined in Title 30-A, §2001, subsection 8, a quasi-municipal corporation as defined in Title 30-A, §2604, subsection 3, the Judicial Department as described in Title 4, the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System and the Maine Maritime Academy.
None
Maryland None Md. Commercial Law Code Ann. §12-509
Notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary between a seller and the issuer of a credit card, the seller is permitted to offer a cash discount to consumers who pay cash instead of using the credit card.
Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 140D, §28A
(a)(2) No seller in any sales transaction may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means.
Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 140D, §28A
(a)(1) With respect to a credit card which may be used for extensions of credit in sales transactions in which the seller is a person other than the card issuer, the card issuer may not, by contract or otherwise, prohibit any such seller from offering a discount to a cardholder to induce the cardholder to pay cash, check or similar means rather than use a credit card.
 
(b) With respect to any sales transaction, any discount from the regular price offered by the seller for the purpose of inducing payment by cash, check or other means not involving the use of an open-end-credit plan or a credit card shall not constitute a finance charge under section four if such discount is offered to all prospective buyers and its availability is disclosed clearly and conspicuously.
Michigan None None
Minnesota Minn. Stat. §325G.051
Subdivision 1. Limitation; prohibition. (a) A seller of goods or services may impose a surcharge on a purchaser who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means, provided (1) the seller informs the purchaser of the surcharge both orally at the time of sale and by a sign conspicuously posted on the seller's premises, and (2) the surcharge does not exceed five percent of the purchase price.
(b) A seller of goods or services that establishes and is responsible for its own customer credit card may not impose a surcharge on a purchaser who elects to use that credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means.
(c) For purposes of this section "surcharge" means a fee or charge imposed by a seller upon a buyer that increases the price of goods or services to the buyer because the buyer uses a credit card to purchase the goods or services. The term does not include a discount offered by a seller to a buyer who makes payment for goods or services by cash, check, or similar means not involving a credit card if the discount is offered to all prospective buyers and its availability is clearly and conspicuously disclosed to all prospective buyers.
 
Subd. 2. Penalty. A seller who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $500 and shall refund the surcharge to each buyer.
None
Mississippi None None
Missouri None None
Montana None None
Nebraska None None
Nevada None Nev. Rev. Stat. §97A.210
No issuer may, by contract or otherwise, prohibit a merchant from offering a discount to a customer to induce the customer to pay by cash, check or similar means rather than by use of a credit card or a credit card account for the purchase of goods or services.
New Hampshire None None
New Jersey None None
New Mexico None None
New York N.Y. General Business Law §518
No seller in any sales transaction may impose a surcharge on a holder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means.
Any seller who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 or a term of imprisonment up to one year, or both.
None
North Carolina None None
North Dakota None None
N. Mariana Islands Statutes not available
Ohio None None
Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. tit. 14A, §2-211 (1982)

A. With respect to all sales transactions, a discount which a seller offers, allows or otherwise makes available for the purpose of inducing payment by cash, check or similar means rather than by use of an open-end credit card account shall not constitute a credit service charge as determined under §2-109 of this title if the discount is offered to all prospective buyers clearly and conspicuously in accordance with regulations of the administrator of Consumer Affairs. No seller in any sales transaction may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects an open-end credit card or debit card account instead of paying by cash, check or similar means. There is no limit on the discount which may be offered by the seller. A seller who provides a discount otherwise than in accordance with the regulations of the Administrator must make the disclosures required by those regulations.

 

B. A seller who is registered with the U.S. Treasury Department as a money transmitter pursuant to 31 CFR, §103.41, and who provides an electronic funds transmission service, including service by telephone and the Internet, may charge a different price for a funds transmission service based on the mode of transmission used in the transaction without violating this section so long as the price charged for a service paid for with an open-end credit card or debit card account is not greater than the price charged for such service if paid for with currency or other similar means accepted within the same mode of transmission.

 

C. Any seller subject to the provisions of subsection B of this section shall either conduct business at a location in this state or comply with the provisions of §1022 of Title 18 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

 

D. As used in this section, "debit card" means any instrument or device, whether known as a debit card or by any other name, issued with or without fee by an issuer for the use of the cardholder in depositing, obtaining or transferring funds from a consumer banking electronic facility.

 

E. For purposes of this section, a private educational institution as defined in paragraph (e) of §3102 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes, a municipality as defined in paragraph 5 of §1-102 of Title 11 of the Oklahoma Statutes or a public trust with a municipality as its beneficiary may charge a convenience fee. The convenience fee shall be limited to bank processing fees and financial transaction fees, the cost of providing for secure transaction, portal fees, and fees necessary to compensate for increased bandwidth incurred as a result of providing for an online transaction.

 

Okla. Stat. tit. 14A, §2-211 (1982)

 

A. With respect to all sales transactions, a discount which a seller offers, allows or otherwise makes available for the purpose of inducing payment by cash, check or similar means rather than by use of an open-end credit card account shall not constitute a credit service charge as determined under §2-109 of this title if the discount is offered to all prospective buyers clearly and conspicuously in accordance with regulations of the administrator of Consumer Affairs.

 

Okla. Stat. tit. 14A, §2-417 (1977)

A. No seller in any sales transaction may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card or debit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means.

 

B. As used in this section, “debit card” means any instrument or device, whether known as a debit card or by any other name, issued with or without fee by an issuer for the use of the cardholder in depositing, obtaining or transferring funds from a consumer banking electronic facility.

 

C. For purposes of this section, a private educational institution as defined in paragraph (e) of §3102 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes may charge a convenience fee. The convenience fee shall be limited to bank processing fees and financial transaction fees, the cost of providing for secure transaction, portal fees, and fees necessary to compensate for increased bandwidth incurred as a result of providing for an online transaction.
Okla. Stat. tit. 14A, §2-211 (1982) A. With respect to all sales transactions, a discount which a seller offers, allows or otherwise makes available for the purpose of inducing payment by cash, check or similar means rather than by use of an open-end credit card account shall not constitute a credit service charge as determined under §2-109 of this title if the discount is offered to all prospective buyers clearly and conspicuously in accordance with regulations of the administrator of Consumer Affairs.
Oregon None None
Pennsylvania None None
Puerto Rico P.R. Code Ann. tit. 10, §11
No merchant shall impose a surcharge on a consumer who chooses to use a credit card instead of cash, check or any similar means of payment in any transaction that involves the sale or lease of products and services.
P.R. Code Ann. tit. 10, §12
The merchant may, however, offer discounts so as to promote payment in cash, check or any other similar method that does not involve the use of a credit card, provided that said discount is offered to all potential buyers.
Rhode Island None None
South Carolina None None
South Dakota None None
Tennessee None None
Texas

Tex. Business & Commerce Code Ann. §604A.001 et seq. (2015 Chapter 113)

(a) In a sale of goods or services, a merchant may not impose a surcharge on a buyer who uses a debit or stored value card instead of cash, a check, credit card, or a similar means of payment.

(b) This section does not apply to a state agency, county, local governmental entity, or other governmental entity that accepts a debit or stored value card for the payment of fees, taxes, or other charges.

 

Tex. Business & Commerce Code Ann. §604A.003 (2015 Chapter 113)

(a) A person who knowingly violates §604A.002 is liable to the state for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $500 for each violation. The attorney general or the prosecuting attorney in the county in which the violation occurs may bring: (1) a suit to recover the civil penalty imposed under this section; and (2) an action in the name of the state to restrain or enjoin a person from violating this chapter.

(b) Before bringing the action, the attorney general or prosecuting attorney shall give the person notice of the person’s noncompliance and liability for a civil penalty. The notice must: (1) contain guidance to assist the person in complying with this chapter; (2) advise the person of the prohibition under §604A.002; and (3) state that the person may be liable for a civil penalty for a subsequent violation of §604A.002.

(b-1) If the person complies with §604A.002 not later than the 30th day after the date of the notice under Subsection (b), the violation is cured and the person is not liable for the civil penalty. A person who has previously received notice of noncompliance under Subsection (b) is not entitled to notice of or the opportunity to cure a subsequent violation of §604A.002.

(c) The attorney general or the prosecuting attorney, as appropriate, is entitled to recover reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining injunctive relief, civil penalties, or both, under this section, including reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, and investigatory costs.

 

 

Tex. Finance Code Ann. §339.001 (1999)

(a) In a sale of goods or services, a seller may not impose a surcharge on a buyer who uses a credit card for an extension of credit instead of cash, a check, or a similar means of payment.

(b) This section does not apply to: (1) a state agency, county, local governmental entity, or other governmental entity that accepts a credit card for the payment of fees, taxes, or other charges; or (2) a private school that accepts a credit card for the payment of fees or other charges, as provided by §111.002, Business & Commerce Code.

(c) The consumer credit commissioner has exclusive jurisdiction to enforce this section.

(d) The Finance Commission of Texas may adopt rules relating to this section. Rules adopted pursuant to this section shall be consistent with federal laws and regulations governing credit card transactions described by this section.

(e) This section does not create a cause of action against an individual for violation of this section. 

None
Utah None None
Vermont None None
Virginia None None
Virgin Islands None None
Washington None Wash. Rev. Code §19.52.130
(1) Nothing contained in this chapter shall be deemed to limit any charge made by an assignee of a retail installment contract or charge agreement to the seller-assignor upon the sale, transfer, assignment, or discount of the contract or agreement, notwithstanding retention by the assignee of recourse rights and notwithstanding duties retained by the assignee to service delinquencies, perform service or warranty agreements regarding the property which is the subject matter of the assigned or discounted contracts or charge agreements, or to do or perform any other duty with respect to the account or contract assigned or the subject matter of such account or contract.
 
(2) No agreement between a credit card issuing bank and retailer shall prohibit the retailer from granting general discounts for the payment of cash, not in excess of the percentage allowed by Regulation Z, the Federal Truth in Lending Act.
West Virginia None None
Wisconsin None Wis. Stat. 422.422
No credit card issuer may, by contract or otherwise, prohibit a merchant from offering a discount to a customer to induce the customer to pay by cash, check, or similar means, rather than by use of a credit card or its underlying account, for the purchase of goods or services.
Wyoming None Wyo. Stat. §40-14-209
(a) "Credit service charge" means the sum of:
(i) All charges payable directly or indirectly by the buyer and imposed directly or indirectly by the seller as an incident to the extension of credit, including any of the following types of charges which are applicable: time price differential, service, carrying or other charge however denominated, premium or other charge for any guarantee or insurance protecting the seller against the buyer's default or other credit loss; and (ii) Charges incurred for investigating the collateral or credit-worthiness of the buyer or for commissions or brokerage for obtaining the credit, irrespective of the person to whom the charges are paid or payable, unless the seller had no notice of the charges when the credit was granted.
 
(b) Credit service charge does not include: (i) Charges as a result of default; (ii) Additional charges pursuant to W.S. 40-14-213; (iii) Delinquency charges specified by W.S. 40-14-214; (iv) Deferral charges pursuant to W.S. 40-14-215; (v) A discount not in excess of five percent  offered by a seller for purposes of inducing payment by cash, check or other means not involving the use of a seller or lender credit card, if the discount is offered to all prospective buyers and its availability is disclosed clearly and conspicuously in accordance with regulations of the administrator; or(vi) Reasonable credit application fees whether or not credit is extended.