Good Question: Is it legal to charge a credit card fee during a transaction?

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — This good question is about whether businesses can charge you more for using credit instead of cash.

The next time you buy something with a credit card, pay extra attention to your total. At some businesses, you might notice that your total is different with a card than if you had used cash. This price difference is nothing new, and it is legal here under one condition.

Joe wants to know: “Is it legal in New York State to add a fee to use a credit card to pay at a business? I was always under the understanding it was legal to offer a discount for cash but a business could not add a charge.”

In New York State, it’s legal for businesses to charge more if you’re using a card but they have to be upfront about it and explicitly spell out the price difference for you in dollars and cents.

A business cannot spring a credit card fee on you at the end of a transaction, nor can it say that the credit card price is the cash price, just with an added percentage. for some businesses. This could mean displaying two separate prices for items, one for cash and one for credit.

The New York State Senate website says “per the court, customers must not be expected to do the math to figure out the total price that they will be paying.”

The state senate is currently considering a bill, sponsored by Senator Jeremy Cooney, that would amend the existing law, making it even clearer, and requiring “sellers to clearly post the credit card price inclusive of any surcharge at the location a sale occurs”

That amendment also says that the final sales price, including any surcharges for using a credit card, cannot be greater than the posted price for the item.

Businesses are allowed to advertise a discount for customers using cash. However, sellers are not allowed to mislead customers by only posting the cash price.