Are Credit Card Surcharges Legal in my State?

Is it legal for restaurants and businesses to charge the customer debit or credit card convenience fees?

The simple answer is yes. In most states it is perfectly legal to take these fees on to credit card customer charges. They can’t tack anything on to customers paying in debit, so they still have to pay the bank or credit card company for the convenience of using debit.

The state and federal governments have different rights and responsibilities in terms of creating and upholding laws. Because the individual states are tasked with deciding who should pay the debit and credit card convenience charges to businesses, the practice varies depending on the state in which you are living and dining. As of the publication of this article, only two states have limited businesses in terms of rendering the consumer responsible for credit and debit fees; California and New York. In these two states, the practice is allowed, but they’re required to warn the customer, giving them the option of avoiding fees by paying cash or debit. This may change over time, one way or another, but if you live in any of the other states, it is perfectly legal for businesses to add debit and credit card convenience charges to bills being paid by credit card. Your state might reconsider, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with the laws regularly anyway. Please bear in mind that a Visa debit for example would not be charged fees because it is considered a debit card. It’s kind of a gray area, which is why some restaurants are choosing to tack on debit convenience charges to what they charge credit card users.

These states below NO


These states below YES

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York (disclose the Credit Card Price), North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon,, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

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