Plastic Makes Purchase: A Brief History of Surcharging

Few topics in the world of payment processing are as complex, hotly debated, or frequently misunderstood as that of surcharging: the practice of adding a fee to a sales transaction when the consumer pays with a credit card. The intrigue and, sometimes, outright confusion that hovers around the practice is not surprising, since both the rules promulgated by the payment networks and state law have undergone substantial changes in the last 10 years. The landscape now is different than what it was last year, or the year before, and so on, with the result that misinformation about surcharging rules and laws is rampant.

This article will trace the evolution of surcharging rules and laws to pinpoint areas where they have changed, as well as look forward to how they will likely continue to transform over the next few years.

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