A common sight in many small businesses, gas stations and convenience marts is a surcharge to use your credit card for purchases. As a business owner, this might sound nice. Passing on the fee that you pay to run their credit card to the customer who wants the convenience of paying with it only makes sense, right? Let’s set aside for just a moment the fact that just accepting plastic increases your business sales significantly, and pretend that your company isn’t actually benefitting from accepting credit cards. Did you know that charging a fee (flat rate or %) to run a customer’s card is prohibited in 10 states (including Florida!!)?
The exact laws can be seen here but the basics for any sunshine state business owner is that you cannot charge a fee for accepting credit cards if you accept them as a form of payment! Doing so will actually result in a second degree misdemeanor!!
There are some work arounds to this, like offering a discount for customers paying in cash or only accepting credit cards over the phone (since the fee is only prohibited in face-to-face transactions) but the best way to avoid penalties is not to charge a fee at all.
Accepting credit cards may be something that we pay a small fee for, but let’s look at the facts. Businesses who accept credit cards see an immediate boost in their sales and income as customers are more likely to purchase and are more likely to spend more money. In fact, the number of people using cash daily is in rapid decline as less than 50% of people carry cash at all, and 76% of those who do carry cash ever have more than $50 cash on them at any given time.