Visa Litigation

Additional Merchants Fee (Surcharge) to Use Your VISA ®Credit Card

As a result of a court settlement between retailers and VISA® and MasterCard®, merchants may pass along their payment processing costs to consumers who pay with a credit card. Beginning January 27, 2013 a merchant who chooses to exercise this surcharge, sometimes referred to as a “checkout fee,” could increase your credit card purchase amount by as much as 4% (the maximum allowed). This surcharge is only applicable to credit cards only, not debit and pre-paid cards.

Patriot wants you to understand how these changes may affect the cost of items purchased with your Patriot VISA Platinum or Patriot VISA Secured credit card. Below are frequently asked questions and answers on this topic.

Q: What is a surcharge and why is it now permitted on VISA credit card transactions?
A: A payment card surcharge is a fee that a retailer may add to the cost of a purchase when a customer uses a VISA credit card. Surcharging was a key provision required by merchants to settle long-standing litigation between VISA and retailers in 2005. A surcharge is NOT a fee charged by Patriot Federal Credit Union.
Q: What is the maximum amount a merchant can surcharge?
A: Merchants must limit their surcharge to their cost of credit card acceptance, which cannot exceed 4% of the underlying transaction.
Q: Will there be a surcharge if I use my debit or prepaid card?
A: No, surcharges may only be applied to VISA CREDIT card transactions, not debit or prepaid cards.
Q: How will I know if a merchant is surcharging?
A: Merchants are required to notify customers before they make a purchase by informing them of the surcharge at the store entrance and at the point of sale. For online transactions, the first page that references credit card brands must disclose any surcharge fees.

Merchants are not allowed to impose a credit card surcharge in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma or Texas, where such fees are prohibited under state law.

Q: Will I see the surcharge on my receipt from the merchant?
A: Yes, merchants are required to disclose surcharge fees on your receipt and list the surcharge separately. You should carefully review your receipt for surcharge or checkout fees.
Q: Will I see the surcharge on my credit card statement?
A: No, you will only see the total amount of the charge. For example, if you purchased an item for $100 and the surcharge was $2, you will see a charge for the total amount of $102.
Q: Can merchants offer a discount for other forms of payment?
A: Yes, merchants may encourage customers to use other forms of payment and may offer a discount for using a debit card, cash or check.

Have Questions or Need More Information?

If you have questions about your Patriot VISA Platinum or VISA Secured credit card, you can contact us here.