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CUNA watches for credit card surcharge change impact
WASHINGTON (1/29/13)--New rules that allow retailers to assess "check out" fees or surcharges on credit card purchases took effect in many states on Jan. 27, and the Credit Union National Association is watching to assess how these rules could impact credit unions.

The Electronic Payments Coalition (EPC) has developed this word cloud to demonstrate how various media sources have covered the credit card surcharge issue since Dec. 2012. (EPC Photo)
The surcharge rule change is one result of a 2012 interchange fee class action lawsuit settlement. CUNA has explained that the surcharging aspect of the settlement--as well as the provision that consumer-owned credit unions would see a reduction in interchange revenue--are signs that the settlement does nothing for consumers.

As CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney explained last year, "We all know that interchange revenue enables credit unions to provide essential and cost-effective credit card services to their consumer members. We also know that the temporary reduction in interchange revenue that credit unions will experience will not likely find its way into the pockets of consumers, but will more likely into those of merchants."

Visa and Mastercard rules previously prohibited merchants from charging surcharges on credit card purchases. The new surcharges could be as high as 4% of a given transaction, and may be charged in 40 states. California, Texas and New York are among the ten states that forbid merchants from assessing surcharges for credit card use.

The surcharges cannot be applied to debit transactions.

Merchants can decide whether or not they want to assess the surcharge. Toys-R-Us and Target are among those that have said they will not charge a credit card fee, NBC News reported. News of the surcharge has received widespread media coverage. (See related story: Retailers' new checkout fees create ruckus in media)


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