What is a surcharge?
Businesses can charge their customers an extra fee, called a surcharge, for processing Visa or MasterCard transactions.
Step by Step Instructions
There are specific rules for adding a surcharge to your transactions. Please be sure to read the section named Rules for Merchants below to make sure that they are being followed for all transactions which include a surcharge.
Click on the Process button.
- Click on the Customize link.
- Set the Surcharge field to Display or Required.
- Enter in the percentage and/or dollar amount you wish to implement as a surcharge.
- Click the Save button.
- A surcharge line will now be present on the Process page and will automatically be added to your transactions when an amount is entered into the field.
- Fill out the remainder of the form and click Process to submit your transaction.
Note: Currently, PayJunction does not support the surcharge feature via Hosted Payments.
If you collect a surcharge using any other method, including 3rd party software, you must also update the surcharge amount to 3% there as well. Any failure to follow surcharging requirements can result in rule violations and significant fines.
Rules for Merchants
Merchants who choose to surcharge must:
- Notify PayJunction 30 days prior to beginning to surcharge.
- The surcharge must be equal to, or less than, the average percentage rate that the merchant pays per transaction, not to exceed a maximum of 3%.
- Surcharging must NOT be charged on debit cards or prepaid cards.
- Businesses MUST clearly disclose the Surcharge:
- Disclosures must be posted at the point-of-entry (at the entrance of the business).
- Disclosures must be posted at the point-of-sale (at the register and/or website).
- Merchants that surcharge must disclose the surcharge dollar amount on every receipt.
- Disclosure must have the exact amount or percentage of the Surcharge.
- Disclosure must include a statement that the merchant is assessing the Surcharge and is only applicable to credit transactions.
- The Surcharge amount can be fixed or variable, but it must be charged the same on all card brands and all payment channels.
- The cardholder must be given the opportunity to cancel the transaction without penalty after the Surcharge is disclosed.
- A Surcharge cannot be charged in conjunction with a Service Fee or a Convenience Fee.
In the United States, surcharging laws vary by state: some have no laws prohibiting surcharging, whereas others ban businesses from charging it. This Visa website provides additional details on surcharging restrictions in certain states.
Considerations for Merchants
Before choosing to surcharge, merchants may want to consider a number of factors, including:
- The potential impact on your customers' experience.
- What your competitors might be doing.
- What information must be disclosed to your customers, and how.
- Cost of credit cards and other forms of payment.
Note: The maximum surcharge amount for Visa is 3%, Discover and Mastercard are 4%, and American Express OptBlue is 3.5%. The rule requires parity across all card brands. Therefore, the max amount of 3% must be utilized.
Businesses that are reported for non-compliance will be contacted via U.S. mail and/or email. The letter will contain a brief description of the violation as well as details around the rule. Once received, this letter must be returned within 7 calendar days acknowledging the violation and compliance being indicated.
Effective April 14, 2023, Visa will implement a $1,000 non-compliance assessment for a first time violation offense. It is imperative to ensure compliance in order to mitigate the risk of receiving a non-compliance assessment. If the non-compliance issue is not addressed and/or found to continue, non-compliance assessments for subsequent violations could start at $25,000 depending upon the type of violation. Continued non-compliance could result in increased penalties and lead to termination of your merchant agreement.