A new law that takes effect Sunday will require New York businesses to clearly state to customers the cost of credit card purchases, including any surcharges, before checkout.
The law, signed by Gov. Cathy Hochul in December, also prohibits companies from charging credit card surcharges above the amount charged by processing companies.
Businesses can choose to display only the higher credit card price of the products or services they sell, or they can choose to display both the credit card price and the lower cash price of the product.
Hochul said in a statement this week that the new disclosure requirements “will allow individuals to trust that their purchases will not come with surprise additional charges.”
“Transparency is critical to building trust between businesses and the community, so customers can budget accordingly,” she said.
In New Jersey, Gov. Philip D. Murphy signed a similar law last year requiring merchants to notify consumers of applicable credit card surcharges before checkout. It also prohibited merchants from charging consumers more than the fees paid by businesses.
A national law that prohibited retailers from charging consumers extra fees for credit card purchases expired 40 years ago. Since then, many businesses have come to rely on so-called convenience fees as a way to offset charges from credit card processing companies.
State Sen. Jeremy Cooney said in a statement that laws requiring disclosure would “help consumers better understand the total cost” of the products they buy.
But businesses are already required by the country and by companies such as Visa and Mastercard to display credit card surcharge amounts at store entrances and in-store counters, said Youssef Mubarres, a Yemeni-American and head of communications for Yemen. It is said that Merchants Association.
“They make merchants look like the enemy by calling them 'hidden fees' when in fact they are not,” Mubarez said. “All they're trying to do is save money to keep the business afloat.”
Mubarez, whose family has run a deli in Times Square for decades and also owns a point-of-sale and service company, said it's a good idea to cap the levy at the same level as processing fees.
But he said the new price tag regulations would put an additional burden on already stressed small business owners. In recent weeks, Mubarez said he has had to send employees to help customers reprice items using price guns that can print out various cash and credit amounts for purchases.
Additionally, some state regulations conflict with credit card processing company guidelines, such as it is currently illegal to simply place a sign at the register informing consumers of a blanket surcharge that applies to all items. He said there are. and confused some of the merchants with whom he did business.
“They put these laws in place with big businesses in mind, and they just leave small businesses thinking about what they have to do,” he says.