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CASH OR CARD: Are credit card fees at stores or businesses legal?

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  • Staff Report 

What’s the deal with credit card fees at local businesses? Are they legal?

That question was recently posed to News10NBC, and they found that businesses are legally permitted to impose fees for using a credit card.

There are a few stipulations though.

According to the New York State Senate website, businesses must be transparent about the fee, explicitly spelling out the difference in dollars and cents between paying with cash or credit. It is prohibited for businesses to spring the fee on customers at the end of the transaction, or to present the credit card price as the cash price with an added percentage. This could mean displaying separate prices for cash and credit payments.

A bill is currently under consideration in the New York State Senate that would further clarify the existing law and require businesses to clearly post the credit card price, inclusive of any surcharge, at the location where the sale occurs. The final sales price, including any credit card surcharges, cannot exceed the posted price of the item.

While businesses are allowed to offer discounts for customers who pay in cash, they are not permitted to mislead customers by only posting the cash price. The state senate stresses that customers must not be expected to do the math to figure out the total price they will be paying.