These illegal debit card fees just won't die
Some convenience stores and gas stations are still dinging users. Minimum purchase amounts are also no-nos.
Some gas stations, convenience stores and other merchants are illegally charging fees for debit card users, as well as putting minimum purchase amounts on customers who use the bank cards, according to a new report.
A January settlement of a class-action lawsuit allowed merchants to start adding "checkout fees" on customers who pay with credit cards, but it exempted debit card users. Despite this, some merchants still hit debit card users, GoBankingRates.com reports.
Ten states -- California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas -- actually prohibit surcharges for credit card users, but that can be a gray area. For instance, gas stations sometimes offer cash discounts. While that's not adding a charge for credit card users, it still effectively dings them when compared with cash customers.
Another familiar annoyance is when a cash register informs you that the store has a minimum purchase amount, prompting many shoppers to pick up a few items just to hit that figure. But it turns out that both Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) have stated that minimums can't be imposed on debit cards, according to GoBankingRates.com.
That's likely to be news to most folks. (The minimum can be applied to credit cards, though.)
So what should you do if you've been charged an illegal fee? If you live in one of those states that outlaw credit card processing fees, Visa encourages you to report the retailer to your state attorney general's office.
Consumers hit with minimum purchases or surcharges on debit cards should also call the customer service number on the back of their cards, the report says. That's because banks that issue the cards will report violations to Visa or MasterCard.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
""""So what should you do if you've been charged an illegal fee? If you live in one of those states that outlaw credit card processing fees, Visa encourages you to report the retailer to your state attorney general's office. ........Consumers hit with minimum purchases or surcharges on debit cards should also call the customer service number on the back of their cards, the report says. That's because banks that issue the cards will report violations to Visa or MasterCard. """""
IN OTHER WORDS, NOTHING WILL HAPPEN
The writer of this story misses the real story; the benefits of financial fee transparency in a "free market" , The credit card companies and related banks have done a fine job of getting the 10 states In their back pocket, these states say it is illegal to charge a transparent 2-4% fee; but consumers don't realize there is still a 2-4% hidden fee that the merchant still pays to mastercard and visa; We pay the fee through higher prices although we don't realize it because its hidden and not transparent. It de incentivizes cash use and encourages credit card use by not making the fee transparent.
How much? If you charge $12000/yr on your credit card you are paying $240 to $480 / yr in fees even in the 10 states. its just that you don't know it.
Financial transparency helps lower costs in a free market by giving you smart choices, By not allowing a transparent fee these states are helping the credit card companies take your money without your knowledge. Whats worse is people who pay cash, debit, or electronic check can't reap the $240 to $480 / yr because we subsidize those who use credit cards. Except for places like Costco and SPECS that offer cash/debit discounts.
I haven't seen that for years. I used to pay with cash as much as practical and always asked about cash discounts, citing the fact the merchant was getting hit with fees if I had used a credit card. I always got the same "we only have one price answer" - and I'm not in a state where that's the law.
So now I use a cash-back credit card as much as is practical. I average 2% off. Those paying with cash are partially subsidizing me.
For 2-3 years we got a nickel off per gallon..That's roughly about 1.5%...It stopped about 1 year ago.
Sometimes cash is KING...."But you gotta ask"...Or take your biz somewhere else.
I think the guy is gonna start giving the nickel again, but don't brag about it.
Another station about 40 miles away, gives a dime off a gallon to everyone for cash..
It's on the sign..
Another place about 17 miles gives .38-40 cents off for a Indian Tribal Membership/Citizenship card.
But you have to have the Card for the Local Tribe..
The Card is run through or registered on the Machine...It knocks off some of the Taxes??
Cash or charge makes no difference.....Local Tribe made the deal.
MSN's writer of this article should have made that clear!!
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