Consumer Alert: Businesses must tell customers about price differences between paying with cash or card

Consumer Alert: cash vs credit

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Let’s take a look at the price you pay with cash versus credit. You know, the surcharge of up to 4% that you often have to pay when you use a credit card.

A new state law mandates that if businesses charge you more if you use a credit card, they have to tell you upfront. For example, it’s common-place for gas stations to charge a lower price if you pay with cash rather than credit. That’s because credit card issuers charge businesses a fee of one to 4% to process your payment.

So, merchants can legally pass that fee onto the consumer — if they do it the right way.

Consumers complained they often didn’t learn the business charged more to use a credit card until they saw the receipt. So Governor Hochul clarified the law — mandating that business must display the higher credit card price and offer a cash discount, or display both prices.

It’s illegal to display the lower cash price and then note a 4% surcharge for credit card purchases. The governor released a video explaining the difference. 

“Businesses must always and clearly list the higher credit card price as a total of dollars and cents or list both cash and credit card prices up front for all items,” says Hochul. “Businesses can choose to offer a discount for cash purchases or simply decide to charge the same price for both cash and credit cards.”

For answers, News10NBC’s Deanna Dewberry first called the Attorney General’s Office because this is a matter of law. The Attorney General’s Office told Deanna to call the Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection.

When Deanna reached out to them they told her to call the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and by then it was too late in the day to get an answer from that office.

Merchants who don’t follow the law can be fined $500, but Deanna still doesn’t have an answer. But she’ll keep digging.