New credit card fees impact consumers nationally and locally

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by Claudia Coffey

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 28, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 28 at 7:42 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Swiping a credit card may be easy but now it may be the more expensive. Next time you use your credit card you may be charged a check-out fee of up to four percent of the total purchase.

It is of great concern to local retailers who do not want to have to raise prices to make up for the extra fee.

Inside Apricot Lane Boutique, at Westport Village, owner Wendy Lytle is trying to figure out how a new credit card fee affects her local business.

She was on the phone Monday to find out more about a "swipe fee' that started taking affect Sunday. Stores have always paid a fee to let you swipe. But now retailers can pass that fee on to you each time you use a credit card.

It's a fee that's not popular with small local businesses. The new fee stems from a multi-billion dollar settlement reached last summer between credit card companies and merchants.

How much of a surcharge depends on how much a merchant pays in processing fees. The amount that is legally allowed is 1.5 to 4 percent of the purchase price.

The fee does not apply to debit cards. Locally, there is a way to know if retailers are charging extra.

"When you walk in there has to be a sign conspicuously displayed indicating that they do surcharge. Then at the cash register and also on your receipt, they have to clearly disclose what the surcharge is," Adam Levine with Credit.com said.

Stores do have the option to opt out. Retail giant Walmart already said they will not participate. Apricot Lane will also opt out. The owner says she does not  want  to have to raise prices on clothing in order to make up the extra charge.

Ten states prohibit credit card surcharges however, neither Kentucky nor Indiana are one of them. American Express customers also do not have to worry,  they too are exempt from the surcharges
 

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