Louisianans might see prices rise due to agreement between retailers, credit card companies
A recent agreement struck between retailers and credit card companies means retailers can begin passing along some extra fees for processing credit card transactions to consumers. And because Louisiana is not among 10 states that have laws barring such kind of surcharges, consumers in Baton Rouge and throughout the state may begin to see the fees appear on their receipts.
"What consumers might see is certain businesses, probably the smaller ones, asking them to pay an additional fee when using a credit card, or offering them a discount to pay in cash," says Linda Sherry, spokeswoman for Consumer Action, a national nonprofit consumer advocacy organization. "We think it's pretty ugly for consumers."
Some say passing along the charge to consumers is a fair move, as retailers have long built the fees they pay to credit card companies into the average prices of goods—meaning those who traditionally pay in cash are also paying for the choice not to use credit.
The agreement reached between millions of merchants and credit kingpins Visa and MasterCard does not apply to debit card transactions, and there is a limit of how much retailers can pass along to consumers, maxing out around 3% of the purchase price in most instances.
The agreement extends the rule on surcharges through 2021, but Sherry says it's not clear when consumers may begin to see area retailers pass along the charge. A federal judge has yet to finalize the agreement as well, meaning there could be additional changes to the final rules.
Consumers must be told about the charge before a purchase, according to the agreement, and it must also be detailed on sales receipts. The Louisiana Retailers Association did not return a request for comment on how consumers may be affected by the agreement. The Wall Street Journal has compiled a Q&A rundown of how the agreement will affect consumers here.
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