Starting at the end of January, stores may begin charging customers paying with credit cards a new fee. Due to a settlement agreement agreement, merchants now have the legal right to charge customers a “checkout fee” when they use a credit card to pay for their purchases. The fee can be up to 4%, which is no small chunk of change on some transactions.
Read on to discover 4 ways that you can beat the new credit card fees.
1. Let competition be your friend
The settlement gave retailers the right to charge customers a surcharge for paying with a credit card, but that doesn’t mean that they have to or that they will. Some businesses are bound to think it’s more advantageous to not charge the checkout fee to retain customers. Reward those businesses with your hard earned money.
The only stores that will be able to get away with the checkout fees are ones with limited to no competition nearby. Those types of stores are often ones that exist in extremely rural areas or sell a unique item that you can’t get from your local mass merchandiser. If that’s the case, it’s really more of a convenience fee and some careful planning can help you avoid those stores all together.
2. Resist the urge to use that rewards card
Rewards cards often have the highest interchange fees, so merchants may be hard pressed to soak up the cost of allowing customers to use these types of cards. If that’s the case, you may have to decide if your rewards are worth the extra 4% charge you’ll face at the register. If not, you might want to skip the rewards card and use a plain old credit card instead.
3. Don’t accept the fees just yet
The agreement between various credit issuers is inconsistent, and all of the major credit card companies and merchants have different sets of rules that they need to follow. If a retailer accepts all types of credit cards, they will be allowed to charge a surcharge on Visa and Mastercard, but not American Express. This gets tricky for not only customers, but retailers as well.
It’s not just credit card companies that aren’t pleased with the agreement. Retailers are also unhappy with the way things turned out. Some of the biggest retailers such as Target and Home Depot aren’t on board with the settlement and all of it’s many parts that go far beyond additional fees.
4. Say no to fees
Instead of accepting the fees, choose to do your shopping in a state that banned them. There are 10 states in total that have outlawed these interchange fees. The states are: California, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Kansas, Colorado, Florida, Oklahoma and Texas. Do your shopping in one of those states if you can and say no to the new fees.
Credit card fees can quickly add up. Get informed of changes headed your way and make a plan to stay ahead of rising costs.